‘Bittersweet’ KIA sits down to face elimination…epic 5-way war nears conclusion

The KBO’s five-team race for the top spot has never been more intense.

The LG Twins have already clinched their first regular season title in 29 years and are headed directly to the Korean Series, while the KT Wiz have also secured a playoff spot by finishing second in the regular season. The NC Dinos and SSG Landers have also punched their tickets to fall baseball, although the exact standings are yet to be determined. NC made it to the postseason for the first time in three years since 2020, when they won the overall title, while defending champions SSG were on the verge of missing the postseason, but a late-game rally kept them in sole possession of third place.메이저사이트

Only one spot remains. The Doosan Bears, who are currently in fifth place, have the best chance of catching the last train. Doosan won 3-1 against the KIA Tigers in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Stadium on March 13. Starting pitcher Kwak Bin Kwak threw 109 pitches over six innings, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out nine to earn his 12th win of the season, while the trio of Hong Gun-hee, Kim Myung-shin, and Kim Kang-ryul also shined. In the bottom of the third inning, Jose Rojas hit a two-run double to right field to give Doosan a 3-0 lead and set the tone early on.

With the win, Doosan improved to 73 wins, 65 losses, and two ties (.529 winning percentage) and took a three-game lead over KIA, which has 71 wins, 69 losses, and two ties (.507 winning percentage). Doosan has now played 140 games, while KIA has played 142. Even if KIA wins both of its remaining games, it can no longer qualify for the postseason on its own, as Doosan’s results will determine whether or not it makes it.

The odds could be completely stacked against them right now. Doosan will play LG at Jamsil Stadium on the 14th. If Doosan wins this game, it will clinch a spot in the postseason. LG has already clinched the regular season title, but they’ll be playing their best team against a team that’s still fighting for position. Still, they’re not exactly a team that’s hungry for a win, so Doosan has a golden opportunity to close out the best-of-five series. Doosan will send out starter Brandon Waddell to face LG’s Yun-sik Kim.

On this day, KIA has no games scheduled. They have 15 days off. However, they are not in a position to relax. With KIA’s postseason elimination trajectory down to one, they have to pay close attention to the outcome of Doosan’s game. In other words, they could have a break and still be eliminated.

There are only two games left for KIA. KIA will play the final two games of the series against NC in Gwangju on April 16-17. It’s safe to say that there’s really only one “what if” for KIA to make it to the postseason. Even if KIA wins both of its remaining two games, Doosan would have to lose all four of its remaining games to finish tied for fifth place with 73 wins, 69 losses and two ties. The KBO has introduced a tiebreaker system to determine the wild-card spot. For KIA, the only hope is a slim one. If Doosan wins one game and KIA loses one game, Doosan is guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

KIA has been plagued by a rash of injuries at the height of the standings battle. Right now, the KIA lineup is missing four of its top hitters – Na Sung-beom, Choi Hyung-woo, Choi Won-joon, and Park Chan-ho. Unsurprisingly, they’re struggling to produce runs.

Na suffered a hamstring injury while sliding against the Gwangju LG on March 19, and is out for the season. Choi Hyung-woo suffered a collarbone injury while running into first baseman Park Byung-ho against KT in Gwangju on March 24 and is also out for the season. Choi Won-jun, who traveled with the Asian Games team, was hit in the calf by a batted ball during a team training session and didn’t even make it to his comeback game with KIA. Park Chan-ho was also out for the season after being hit in the left forearm by a Lee Sun-woo fastball in the second game of a doubleheader against KT at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 4.

It’s hard to think of another team with such a string of bad luck. After finishing fifth in the regular season last year and narrowly missing out on a postseason berth, KIA is looking to make it to fall baseball for the second year in a row, but now they’re really on the edge of a cliff. For now, they can only hope for a miracle.

Meanwhile, this year’s regular season, which featured some of the most epic standings battles of all time, will come to a close on April 17. The first gateway to the postseason, the Wild Card Series, will begin on the 19th and will be held at the home of the fourth-place team. Currently, third-place SSG, fourth-place NC, and fifth-place Doosan are separated by one game, so it’s unclear who will advance directly to the semifinals and which team will host the wild card series.

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