No team is perfect. Even the last-place team is competitive at 4/1.9, making the race for the top of the standings difficult to predict until the end of the season.
This past weekend’s three-game series was notable as the top teams were stymied by the bottom teams one after another. No. 1 LG was swept by No. 10 Hanwha in two games after winning one, while No. 2 KT was swept by No. 9 Kiwoom in all three games.
For the fourth straight year, Hanwha is in danger of finishing in the bottom 10, but it’s certainly more competitive than the previous three years. This year’s winning percentage of 4.1-1.9 (44 wins, 61 losses, 6 draws) is noticeably higher than 2020 (.326), 2021 (.371), and 2022 (.324). Even ninth-place Kiwoom (.421), which trails Hanwha by one game but has played 13 more games, has a winning percentage of more than 4.2 percent.
In the 41 seasons of the KBO until last year, the last-place team had a winning percentage above .4 only nine times: 1983 Lotte (.434), 1989 Lotte (.434), 1991 OB (.413), 1998 Lotte (.410), 2001 Lotte (.457), 2004 Lotte (.410), 2007 KIA (.408), 2012 Hanwha (.408), and 2018 NC (.406).
This year, Hanwha is 11.5 games behind fifth-place NC, so fall baseball is over, but its winning percentage of .409 is the fourth-best among the last-place teams in history. It’s only behind Lotte in 2001 in the 2000s. Finishing eighth that year, Lotte won 59 games, lost 70 and tied four, the best winning percentage (.457) of any last-place team in history, just two games behind fourth-place Hanwha.
In the decade since 2013, when the nine- to 10-team system became more polarized, the last-place team has only had a winning percentage in the low 40s once. But this year, with the overall leveling of power, the winning percentage of the last-place team has increased, making the battle for the top spot even more exciting.
Every year at this time, there are teams that give up on the season and become targets for the top teams to win, but this year is different. Kiwoom, which has effectively tanked due to injuries to Lee Jung-hoo and Ahn Woo-jin, has a legitimate case for last place, but Hanwha is looking to avoid a fourth consecutive last-place finish, and No. 8 Samsung is looking to avoid its first last-place finish.
Samsung, Kiwoom, and Hanwha are all within two games of each other in eighth through 10th place, so the battle for the top spot will be fierce until the end. With fall baseball on the line for first through fifth place, teams in the mid- to upper-tier can’t afford to let their nerves get the better of them.스포츠토토
This week, 10th-ranked Hanwha begins a three-game homestand against SSG, who have lost four straight games and are also in a precarious position in third place. No. 9 Kiwoom travels to Changwon to take on No. 5 NC. No. 8 Samsung travels to Ulsan to face No. 7 Lotte, whose fall baseball hopes are still alive. It will be interesting to see if they can sprinkle some chili powder on the busy standings contenders.