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4 Takeaways from MLB’s first games in the 2024 Seoul Series

The 2024 Major League Baseball season is kinda, sorta officially underway as the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers traveled to Seoul, South Korea to play a two-game set that counted towards the regular season as part of MLB’s World Tour. Dedicated fans had to wake up early in the morning to watch the games, but for those that did they were treated to a pair of interesting games across the sea. While the teams ended up splitting the series, there are still a few takeaways as both teams return for the final few days of Spring Training.

Position hopping won’t stop Mookie Betts

During his time with the Dodgers, superstar MVP Mookie Betts has proven he is a fantastic athlete across the board. He hits for average and power, has speed, and has shown that he is a fantastic defender. While he initially played right field, the Dodgers have committed to moving him back to the infield to be their starting shortstop after Gavin Lux left a lot to be desired defensively at the position. Betts was meant to start at second base but will now take over on the other side of the bag. While it remains to be seen if he can sustain a high standard of defense at the keystone position, one thing that remains true is that it isn’t going to affect his bat. During the Seoul Series, Betts started both games and went 6-for-9, including a home run and a double, and drove in seven runs. While the 2024 season will be focused on what Ohtani does in a Dodger uniform, Betts will continue to show that he is one of the best hitters on the Dodgers let alone in all of baseball.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto will have an adjustment period

In the second game of the series, fans eagerly waited to witness Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s MLB debut. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a forgettable one as Yamamoto coughed up five runs on four hits as his start lasted just one inning. It was the most runs he had allowed in a game since July 2, 2022, while pitching in the NPB. Yamamoto is no doubt one of the best pitchers in the world after his storied success in Japan, but there is likely going to be an adjustment period that is going to have to happen in his MLB career. He has shown excellent potential during some up-and-down starts in Spring Training, but he has allowed nine runs on 15 hits in 9 2/3 innings. His arsenal is elite and will be troublesome, but he has to find some consistency at the MLB level to stay ahead of hitters and limit the contact against him. His first start could be chalked up to a number of things like jitters, a weird locale, and an abnormal schedule, but once the regular season begins for everyone, he’ll quickly adjust. Fans will just have to stay patient.

There are always uncontrollable variables

The beauty of baseball is that there is some sort of controlled chaos that has a way of sneaking into the game. It’s unpredictability is what makes the game so exhilarating, but Jake Cronenworth may not feel the same after what happened in the first game of the season. With the game tied at two, Gavin Lux hit a short chopper to first that could have potentially ended the inning with a double-play. However, as Cronenworth went to field the ball, it seemed to skirt past him into right field, allowing the go-ahead run to score before opening up a rally for the Dodgers to go on to win 5-2. Cronenworth was charged with an error to real no fault of his own. The ball just happened to break the webbing on his glove and push through into shallow right field. There was absolutely nothing Cronenwroth to do as he succumbed to the most inopportune moment of bad luck. Still, as former Padres manager Bud Black, who is the current manager of the Colorado Rockies, says “That’s baseball.”

The Padres offense has to be consistent

In an offseason that saw the Padres trade away Juan Soto and do very little to address their offense, it was a tale of two games for the Friars. The team scored just two runs on four hits in game one of the series before turning around for an offensive explosion in game two. They ended up scoring 15 runs on 17 hits in their victory over the Dodgers, most notably with Cronenworth going 4-for-4 with four RBI. All but two starters in the lineup had at least one hit, while six of them had multiple hits. Jackson Merrill went 2-for-5 in game two and looks primed to have a solid rookie season in 2024. However, there is a case to be that in order for the Padres to find success in 2024, they will need to find consistency as an offense. Not every game will be an offensive explosion, and not every game will be a close affair like Tuesday’s game, but what will help bridge the gap is a consistent offense that gets on base, drives in runs, and maintains the acceptable strikeout to walk ratio displayed in the series.


While neither team is exactly in big league shape yet, the Seoul Series could be deemed a rousing success for the fans in Korea and around the world. MLB’s efforts to expand the game internationally is an exciting endeavor and other are plenty of other exciting games coming up this season. It’s early and there is plenty of baseball to be played, but these takeaways are worth keeping in mind as the year progress.



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