The race for the top spot in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) is as hot as the summer heat, especially during the chaotic times when four teams, from the third-ranked NC Dinos to the sixth-ranked KIA Tigers, change positions every day.
As of the 7th, the LG Twins are in first place with 57 wins, 2 ties, and 35 losses. They have a comfortable 4.5-game lead over the second-place SSG Landers (52 wins, 1 tie, 39 losses). SSG Landers also has a four-game lead over third-place NC (48W1D43L), which isn’t bad.
The problem is the mid-table battle after third place. NC and KT Wiz (49W2D44L), who have recently won four straight, are separated by just 0.0006 in win percentage. In addition, the fifth-place Doosan Bears (47-1-44) are one game behind, and the sixth-place KIA (44-2-43) have also entered the third-place battle with three straight wins. Third-place NC and sixth-place KIA are separated by just two games.
The most prominent team in the bloody mid-table battle is KT. KT was last among the 10 clubs with 16 wins, 2 draws, and 29 losses. Since June, they’ve been a completely different team. Since June, they’ve gone 33-15 for a winning percentage of .688, good for first place overall. They have six more wins than second-place LG in the same period. Their win-loss margin, which was once as low as -14, is now +5.
The return of players like Hwang Jae-gyun, Kang Baek-ho, and Choi Jae-dae, who were sidelined by injuries early in the season, has revitalized the team, especially the “starting one-two punch” of Ko Young-pyo and Wes Benjamin.
“Until June, we had too many injuries, but with the return of the sick players, KT’s unique starting baseball is coming back to life,” said Ko Young-pyo, who became the first KT team to reach the 10-win plateau for three consecutive years. “I think the mindset of preventing as many innings as possible has led to the current upswing.”
Defending their precarious third place, NC threw a game-changer. They claimed foreign-born pitcher Taylor Widener off waivers and acquired left-hander Tanner Tully. Widener made 11 appearances in the KBO this season, going 4-2 with a 4.52 ERA. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t a performance that warranted a midseason release either.
NC decided that Widener wasn’t dominant enough. They decided to bring in Tanner Tully to build a more stable starting rotation. With the loss of a number of key homegrown starters, including Koo Chang-mo, Lee Yong-joon, and Lee Jae-hak, the expectations for the new foreigner are bound to be high.스포츠토토
Fifth-place Doosan has been on a roller coaster ride. After a franchise-record 11-game winning streak, they lost five in a row before reeling off three straight wins. The foreign-born duo of Raul Alcantara and Brandon Waddell are solid, and homegrown ace Kwak-Bin Kwak seems to have found his groove. If they can stabilize sidearm Choi Won-jun, who has been very up and down this season, they have the potential to make a run at the top of the table.
KIA is on a clear upswing with 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses in their last 10 games. After a sweep of the Lotte Giants from March 28-30, they have won three straight series against Samsung and Hanwha. Park Chan-ho-Choi Won-joon-Kim Do-young.