Doosan Bears, Featured writer, Gwangju-KIA Champions Field, Hanwha Eagles, KIA Tigers, Kim DaeHyeon, Kim MinWoo, LG Twins, Lotte Giants, Matthew Care, NC Dinos, Park SeWoong, Pennant race, Play-offs, Sajik Baseball Stadium, SK Wyverns, Win Percentage, Yang Hyun-jeong

Top of the First 09/26/2017: 8 Days To Go In The Closest KBO Season In Recent Memory

After strong outings by the Doosan Bears and NC Dinos on Sunday, KIA and Lotte today have the opportunity to maintain the pressure on their rivals in the battles for first, and third. Here’s how the top 4 shapes up heading into the last 8 days of the season.

top 4 standings

After a week that saw them beat Lotte, NC, KIA, and kt to extend their winning streak to 6 games, the Doosan Bears have managed to pull back a 13 game deficit they found themselves in on July 20 to tie KIA at the top of the KBO pennant race on Sunday.

With 4 games remaining in their make up schedule compared to the Tigers’ 6, the in-form Bears have a distinct advantage heading into this week. Barring a brief removal of the no-ties rule in 2008 that saw 6 regular season games go into the 13th inning or beyond – including a 6-hour, 18 inning, 1-0 walk off for Doosan against the Hanwha Eagles on September 3rd, 2008, the KBO has always had ties as part of it’s league format. The weight given to these ties in win percentage calculation has changed several times throughout the league’s history. The most notable models that have been utilized include calculating ties as 0.5 wins between 1987 and 1997, calculating ties as losses between 2009 and 2010, and disregarding ties in winning percentage calculations completely from 2011 onwards in the same manner as NPB. The implication of the current rule is that should Doosan win all 4 of their remaining games, then KIA would need to win at least 5 of their remaining games without a loss to clinch the pennant.

KIA Tigers Doosan Bears
Record Win % Record Win %
6W 0L 0D 0.6154
5W 0L 1D 0.6127
4W 0L 2D 0.6099 4W 0L 0D 0.6099
5W 1L 0D 0.6084
3W 0L 3D 0.6071 3W 0L 1D 0.6071
4W 1L 1D 0.6056
2W 0L 4D 0.6043 2W 0L 2D 0.6043
3W 1L 2D 0.6028 3W 1L 0D 0.6028
4W 2L 0D 0.6014 1W 0L 3D 0.6014
1W 0L 5D
2W 1L 3D 0.6000 2W 1L 1D 0.6000
3W 2L 1D 0.5986
0W 0L 6D 0.5985 0W 0L 4D 0.5985
1W 1L 4D 0.5971 1W 1L 2D 0.5971
2W 2L 2D 0.5957 2W 2L 0D 0.5957
3W 3L 0D 0.5944
0W 1L 5D 0.5942 0W 1L 3D 0.5942
1W 2L 3D 0.5929 1W 2L 1D 0.5929
2W 3L 1D 0.5915
0W 2L 4D 0.5899 0W 2L 2D 0.5899
1W 3L 2D 0.5887 1W 3L 0D 0.5887
2W 4L 0D 0.5874
0W 3L 3D 0.5857 0W 3L 1D 0.5857
1W 4L 1D 0.5845
0W 4L 2D 0.5816 0W 4L 0D 0.5816
1W 5L 0D 0.5804
0W 5L 1D 0.5775
0W 6L 0D 0.5734
Head-to-head comparison of all remaining potential results and resulting win percentages for the KIA Tigers and Doosan Bears from now until the end of the season. In the event of a tie on winning percentage, the Bears will win the pennant based on thw two team’s head-to-head record this season (8W-7L-1W in favour of Doosan).

With both teams having recorded 2 ties this season, the battle for third between the Lotte Giants and NC Dinos has a strong chance of falling back to a traditional head-to-head tie-breaker where the Giants have the advantage with 9 wins and 7 losses against their southern rivals. With 3 games left for Lotte, and 4 left for NC, every game is critical in the final push to secure third place. It should be noted, however that one of the draws in question for the Giants involved the Son A-Seop home run that was overruled to a ground rule double in error by the KBO Video Review Center back in July. Had the home run stood, many believe that the Giants would have gone on to win the game 5-4 inside of 9 innings, That half game could prove crucial as the time ticks down towards the start of Tuesday’s action.

fixtures

LG Twins vs KIA Tigers: 18:30 KBS N Sports, MBC Sports+

After a long and drawn out campaign mired by injury, player arguments, and inconsistent offence, the LG Twins now sit 3.5 games back from the fifth place SK Wyverns, and are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. With only 6 games remaining, and a losing record against the Wyverns, the tragic number that would see them eliminated from the post season sits at 1.

5th battle.png

Despite this, however, the Twins have shown some fight in their final few games following the return to form of ace pitcher David Huff, and the reinstation of Kim DaeHyeon to the starting rotation after a one month absence following an early exit on August 18 against the SK Wyverns. Despite a loss in his last outing, Kim managed to limit a revived Hanwha lineup to 2 runs across 6 innings, punching out 3. The lack of run support in that outing has been indicative of the lack of productivity that has plagued the LG batting order all season, something the organization may be looking to remedy this off-season with rumours abounding about San Francisco’s Hwang JaeGyun hinted to join the Seoul team.

KIA, on the other hand have had very little difficulty in finding pop in their bats this season, and will look to forget about last week’s poor run of fixtures as they try to keep the pressure on Doosan across their final 4 games. Yang HyunJong, who takes the mound for the Tigers tonight has won both of his previous starts against LG and has yet to concede a home run across 51 hitters from the Twins offense over 12 2/3 total innings. Inconsistencies across Yang’s last few outings that saw him win only 1 of his last 5 starts, and a WHIP of 1.46 against LG does give cause for concern however, as the Twins batting order managed to put a total 14 runs past the NC Dinos over the weekend. With both teams needing nothing less than a win, you can expect a charged Champions Field that celebrated hitting the 1 million ticket sales milestone last week, to welcome both teams with nothing less than a wall of noise.

Prediction: KIA will draw from the crowd and just have too much pop for LG. Two of KIA’s big names to go deep as the Tigers put the final nail in the Twins’ playoff aspirations. There will be bullpen, but KIA to win by 3 runs.

Hanwha Eagles vs Lotte Giants: 18:30 (SBS, SPOTV, SKY Sports)

From one charged stadium that just reached the 1 million fan milestone, to another charged stadium that just reached the 1 million fan milestone. Sajik Stadium: Korea’s loudest karaoke bar welcomes the Hanwha Eagles for Lotte’s third last game of the season in a game that the Giants simply must win.

After an impressive season that saw him rack up 12 wins and 6 losses across 27 starts, Lotte’s rising star, Park SeWoong takes the mound as he looks to break a 2 game losing streak over his last couple of starts, and earn win number 13 in what looks likely to be his last start of the regular season.

Even though Park has given up 5 home runs this season across 4 winless starts against Hanwha, he has only conceded 11 runs across that span and boasts a respectable 3.96 ERA against the Daejeon team. Over the past two months Lotte’s offense has improved significantly and will be looking to do follow suit from the LG Twins and put out a strong outing against the Eagle’s 22 year old southpaw, Lee MinWoo. In his last outing, Lee only managed to record one out before being removed with a 108.00 ERA. Lotte’s offense will be asking questions of Lee’s confidence since his last outing now that he has transitioned from the bullpen to a starting role. Hanwha will need to respond in kind if they are to have any chance of swinging the race for third in favour of NC.

Prediction: It won’t be a 108.00 ERA, but it will be a short outing for Kim MinWoo who hasn’t recorded a single start all season. Lotte will do some early damage and score 2 or 3 fewer runs than they otherwise should on account of hitting into no fewer than 2 double-plays. The early lead will be enough however, and Park will complete his start for win number 13 of the season.

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