The Doosan Bears and Kia Tigers, who are locked in a tight race for the top spot, have won side-by-side, and now the two teams will meet in a fateful showdown on a wooden bridge. It’s a de facto semi-wild card matchup.
The Doosan Bears cruised to an 11-1 victory over the NC Dinos in their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday.
With the win, fifth-ranked Doosan snapped a two-game losing streak and improved its season record to 72 wins, 65 losses, and two ties, closing the gap on fourth-place NC from 1.5 games to 0.5 games. They also narrowed the gap with SSG Landers, who did not play, to one game.토토사이트
NC, on the other hand, failed to win three in a row and dropped to fourth place with 73 wins, 65 losses and two draws. Ahead of the match, NC head coach Kang In-hwa said, “Every game is important. Especially today’s game and LG Electronics on the 13th are important. I don’t think we will know how the ranking battle will be until the end of the season. We will give it our all,” he said. However, NC dropped the 12th game to Doosan, putting pressure on them for the remaining games.
Doosan scored home runs at crucial times to overpower NC. In the bottom of the first inning, when the team was down 0-1, Jose Rojas hit a solo shot to tie the game. In the bottom of the second inning, Kim Jae-ho tied the game with a single, and then came the big inning in the third. With no outs and runners on first and second, Yang Seok-hwan singled to drive in another run, and with runners on first and second, Yang hit a three-run shot to make it 6-1.
Doosan’s bats didn’t stop. Before the game, Doosan head coach Lee Seung-yeop said, “We need our bats to explode to win,” and it worked. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Heo Kyung-min hit a solo shot and Rojas and Yang Seok-hwan hit back-to-back RBI singles to score three runs and essentially put the game out of reach. On the mound, Jang Won-jun lasted just 2⅔ innings, but the second pitcher, Lee Young-ha, pitched three scoreless innings to set the stage for the team’s victory. Lee Byung-heon, Choi Ji-gang, Park Chi-guk, and Hong Gun-hee followed suit to secure the win.
The third-place SSG Landers, fourth-place NC Dinos, and fifth-place Doosan Bears remain tightly packed, with just 0.5 games separating them. The standings could change in just one day. However, the fifth-place Doosan Bears have a little more pressure on their shoulders because the sixth-place KIA Tigers are chasing them.
The Tigers continued to keep their fall baseball fire alive with a 6-5 hard-fought win over the Lotte Giants on the same day. Despite an early setback for starter Mario Sanchez, who gave up four runs in 3⅔ innings, the Tigers were able to pull out the win as the bats came alive. In the third inning, when the team was down 0-3, Lee Woo-sung hit an RBI double, and in the fourth inning, when the team was down 2-4, Ko Jong-wook hit a pinch-hit RBI single and Socrates Brito hit an RBI double.
KIA allowed Lotte to tie the game in the sixth, but regained the lead in the seventh when Lee Woo-sung singled with two outs. The bullpen was also crucial to the team’s victory. With the bases loaded in the eighth, Jeon Sang-hyun struck out pinch-hitters Lee Jung-hoon and Han Dong-hee. In the ninth, Jung Hae-young struck out Park Seung-wook with the bases loaded.
With the win, KIA remains in sixth place with a record of 71 wins, 68 losses and two ties. KIA has three games left and Doosan has five. KIA will need a miracle to advance to the fall baseball season. They need to win against Doosan in Jamsil on the 13th before they can look beyond that. If KIA wins, it will narrow the gap with Doosan to one game. In this case, if KIA wins both of its next two games (against Gwangju NC on the 16th and 17th), and Doosan wins one or three of its remaining four games, the winning percentage will be equalized at 0.521 and a fifth-place game will be played. On the other hand, if Kia loses against Doosan on the 13th, their chances of fall baseball are virtually nil. Doosan would need to lose all four of their remaining games to equalize their winning percentage and force a fifth-place game.
For Doosan, three wins in their remaining five games would be enough to clinch a spot in the top five on their own. Doosan will face LG and Jamsil rivals on the 13th and 14th before facing SSG on the 16th (Jamsil) and 17th (Incheon). Naturally, Doosan will be looking to get a head start on the fight for fifth place with a win against KIA on the 13th and then finish the regular season on a higher note by winning the remaining four games, especially the two-game series against SSG.
“Brandon will start on the 13th, Kim Dong-ju will start on the 14th, and Alcantara will start on the 16th if he’s healthy,” Doosan coach Lee Seung-yeop said before the NC game on the 12th. For now, Doosan will start homegrown ace Kwak Bin against KIA on the 13th. Kwak has been very good this season, going 11-7 with a 2.97 ERA. Against KIA, he is 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA in four games this season. For KIA, Kim Gun-gook will start on the mound. Kim is winless this season with a 6.08 ERA. This will be his first time facing Dusan this season.
This effectively sets up the semi-wild card matchup. Both teams are going into the “Dangun Match” (a reference to the Doosan Bears’ mascot bear and the KIA Tigers’ mascot tiger) with a vengeance. With only four games remaining in both the SSG and NC, the standings could change in just one game. The first and second place teams in the regular season have already been decided, but the KBO is still in the midst of an epic battle for the top spot.