Doosan, Lotte, KIA to test the waters in PS…all-out battle at fall’s doorstep
The heat may be fading, but the race for postseason tickets in the Korean Baseball Organization is heating up.
In particular, the Doosan Bears, Kia Tigers, and Lotte Giants are poised to go all out for the fifth spot, the “last stop” in the fall feast.
The seventh-ranked Lotte will be tested by facing the first-place LG Twins and second-place KT Wiz back-to-back.
From April 22-24, Lotte will play a three-game series against first-place LG at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, followed by a three-game series against surging KT at Sajik Stadium in Busan on April 25.
Both teams are tough opponents for Lotte. Lotte is 5-6 against LG and 3-9 against KT this season.
What’s more, Lotte’s recent form has been subdued, losing all three games against the last-place Kiwoom Heroes by three points or less.
On the other hand, LG, which finished above the ridge of the regular season championship in Division 7, has won seven of its last 10 games, while KT has picked up eight wins (three losses).
Depending on the outcome of this week’s six games with LG and KT, Lotte could either clinch the fifth spot or slip to the bottom of the standings.
Lotte trails fifth-place Doosan by 1.5 games, but is also 4.5 games behind the eighth-place Hanwha Eagles.
For Lotte, the fourth week of August will be a crucial step toward fall baseball.
Doosan has struggled in its last seven games, going 1-6, but will look to rebound with the return of star catcher Yang Ji-won from injury.
Yang, who was scratched from the roster on Aug. 8 due to a left side injury, is expected to return for a three-game series against Kiwoom on Sept. 22.
Yang’s return will provide a boost to the offense, mound, and defense.
Doosan went 3-7 after Yang’s injury absence.
After the three-game series against Kiwoom, they will face SSG at home. Doosan is 2-6 against SSG this season.
Sixth-ranked KIA plays a road game against KT before hosting the Hanwha Eagles on the 25th.
KIA has been very strong this season, going 6-1 against KT and 5-6-1 against Hanwha.
With a team batting average of 0.335 in their last five games, KIA will be looking to rely on the power of their ignited bats.
KIA infielder Park Chan-ho and catcher Kim Tae-gun are batting in the high teens in their last five games.
The fourth-place NC Dinos have a chance to move into third place. They will play a three-game series against third-place SSG starting on the 22nd.
If NC, which trails SSG by three games, can take all three games, they can look at a direct ticket to the playoffs.
NC will be boosted by the return of Lee Jae-hak to the starting lineup after being sidelined with a left foot injury.
SSG has recently fallen into a five-game losing streak, but finally wiped the sweat off their brow with a hard-fought victory over LG on the 20th.
They will now have to fend off a strong push from NC and Doosan, who are also chasing for the top spot.
The ninth-ranked Samsung Lions will look to escape the bottom half of the standings with back-to-back games against the eighth-ranked Hanwha Eagles and 10th-ranked Kiwoom.토토사이트
Much will depend on the performance of the league’s top hitter, Koo Ja-uk (Samsung-0.345), who is batting .441 with four home runs in his last 10 games.