The 10 clubs that make up the KBO are nearing the home straight as 3 game stands are reduced to two. This is the moment in the season when teams just outside the playoff spots know they have to make a move. Any solid run of victories could be enough to ensure baseball beyond September, as LG Twins experienced in 2014 and 2016.
Realistically, 7 clubs – Kia Tigers, NC Dinos, Doosan Bears, LG Twins, Nexen Heroes, SK Wyverns and Lotte Giants – are competing for the 5 post seasons spots.
In case you’re unfamiliar with how it works, the team which wins the regular season goes straight to the Korean Series, meaning a break of almost a month. 4th plays 5th in a maximum 2-game wildcard (but the 4th placed team is already 1 game up and has home advantage). The winner advances to play the 3rd placed team, then the team in second. Whoever makes it through a convoluted and rather insane play-off system faces the pendant winners some time before the end of October in a best of 7 showdown.
The Tigers currently hold a 5.5 game lead over the Masan based Dinos but since the League resumed following the All Star break, the Doosan Bears have been the hottest team in the League, sweeping their playmates LG Twins at the weekend.
This is how the table stands, thanks to NAVER SPORTS.
Here are Tuesday’s match ups, with thanks to www.mykbo.net.
The Doosan Bears are 6-5 over the Hanwha Eagles in 2017. Generally the Bears’ form against the weaker sides has been a disappointment this season.
Lotte Giants are 8-4 over kt wiz in 2017. 1 win must be the minimum expected return.
LG Twins are 6-3 over Samsung Lions.
The NC Dinos and SK Wyverns have split their 12 games so far, 6 wins each.
And finally, the Kia Tigers, unusually in recent years, have a winning record over the Nexen Heroes, 8-4.
Looking further ahead, these are the other fixtures this week. We have added a little * to the side of each series to indicate importance (1 being minor, 3 being crucial).
Thursday and Friday.
Kia Tigers @ kt wiz *
Lotte Giants @ NC Dinos ***
Doosan Bears @ Nexen Heroes **
SK Wyverns @ LG Twins ***
Samsung Lions @ Hanwha Eagles *
Saturday and Sunday.
Hanwha Eagles @ Nexen Heroes *
Kt wiz @ SK Wyverns *
LG Twins @ Kia Tigers **
Lotte Giants @ Samsung Lions *
NC Dinos @ Doosan Bears ***