Splits could keep Kim in lineup

The idea had been brewing, with Orioles manager Buck Showalter contemplating a lineup that included Hyun Soo Kim versus a left-handed starter.

Kim got his first chance last night against Mariners southpaw Wade LeBlanc and went 0-for-2 in the Orioles’ 5-2 loss at Safeco Field. He grounded out twice to second baseman Robinson Cano and also reached on an error against lefty reliever Mike Montgomery.

Kim-fives-Machado-gray-first-homer-sidebar.jpgKim is now 0-for-7 with three walks and a strikeout against left-handers since coming to the U.S. He cracked the lineup last night because, as I pointed out earlier, left-handed hitters were batting .317 versus LeBlanc. Right-handers were hitting .259.

Another one of baseball’s reverse splits guys.

Another one is pitching tonight for the Mariners.

Left-handers are hitting .333 against southpaw James Paxton this season and .320 over his career, which could put Kim back in the lineup. Otherwise, Nolan Reimold and Joey Rickard could be manning the outfield corners.

Reimold sat last night due to LeBlanc’s splits and Rickard’s rejuvenated bat.

Kim was 12-for-27 in his last seven starts before last night, with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs, five walks and six runs scored. Also a factor in his inclusion in the lineup.

Showalter recently talked about the possibility of Kim being more than a strict platoon player, about the outfielder getting a chance against some lefties.

“I think it could evolve into that, but obviously, the left-handers there (in Korea) and the left-handers here are a lot different. Not a lot, but they’re different,” Showalter said.

“I think he’ll be OK. It has as much to do with trying to kind of work him into the league and the season and also to keep a carrot there for other people, whether it be Reimold or Rickard. We have a lot of guys, they get hot and get it going.

“I was looking at his numbers against left-handed pitching over there the last three years. It’s pretty interesting. He had one year when he was terrible and the one year he was real, real good. I asked him what was the difference. It was pretty funny. He’s learning the language, OK? He’s learning the language, some of the more colorful words.”

LeBlanc earned his first major league win last night since Sept. 23, 2014, a span of 646 days.

Kevin Gausman is 0-5 with a 5.02 ERA on the road this season and is 5-17 with a 5.14 ERA in his career.

Adam Jones’ 11-game hitting streak ended last night, as did Manny Machado’s 10-game streak.

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