The leaderboard is starting to get dizzy again.
SSG Landers and KT Wiz are separated by one game for second place, while the fourth-place NC Dinos, fifth-place Doosan Bears, sixth-place KIA Tigers, and seventh-place Lotte Giants are separated by just 2.5 games. Four teams are battling for a direct playoff berth in the second half of the season and two tickets to the top five.
On the 15th, 1st place LG, 3rd place KT, 6th place KIA, 7th place Lotte, and 8th place Hanwha won, while 2nd place SSG, 4th place NC, 5th place Doosan, 9th place Samsung, and 10th place Kiwoom lost.
Coincidentally, the two-game lead between second-place SSG and third-place KT was reduced to one game. Although KT was on a terrifying run, at the start of the second half, there was a nine-game gap between the second-ranked SSG and the seventh-ranked KT. However, in the second half, KT went a whopping 18-4 with a winning percentage of 8.1%, while SSG only went 9-11. If you look at the second half of the season, KT is in first place, while SSG is in seventh place. That’s a whopping 8 games difference. SSG’s batting slump is huge. Eredia, who was leading the team in batting, was injured and the overall batting balance was broken. Smaller injuries have also emerged, making it difficult for the team to fight at full strength with one or two players missing each game.
KT has been at its strongest. In the second half of the season, they have overtaken LG in the standings. The five starters of William Cuevas, Wes Benjamin, Young-pyo, Uhm Sang-baek, and Bae Je-seong are working perfectly. As KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “Our team now looks like an early bird even if we throw six innings,” and the starters are throwing more than six innings as a matter of course. Even if the bats don’t score a lot of runs, they score the necessary runs, and the bullpen, Son Dong-hyun, Park Young-hyun, and Kim Jae-yoon, protect the lead, and the winning formula continues.
The battle for second place between downhill SSG and uphill KT is bound to be interesting. Even if they can’t overtake LG, they’ll need to go straight to the playoffs to have any hope of winning the Korean Series.
The battle for fourth through seventh place is also interesting to watch. In the first half of the season, Doosan was third with 42 wins, 1 loss and 36 draws, NC was fourth with 39 wins, 1 loss and 38 draws, Lotte was fifth with 38 wins and 39 draws, and KIA was sixth with 37 wins, 2 losses and 41 draws. Doosan and Kia are separated by 4.5 games.
During the second half of the season, their positions changed and the gap narrowed. Lotte’s three-game winning streak while NC’s three-game losing streak and Doosan’s four-game losing streak made it so that no one knows who will make the top five.
Doosan went on an 11-game winning streak at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, but their 11-game winning streak has since run out of steam with a 5-13 record, especially after the team’s centerpiece Yang-ji went down with an injury.
NC seemed to be solidifying a top-five finish in early August with a five-game winning streak that put them in third place, but they’ve since gone 1-1 and tied for fourth. KIA also piled up wins early in the second half as their new foreign pitchers showed stability, but have faltered recently with ace Yang Hyun-jong struggling. Lotte, which went 5-12 in July, has turned things around with an 8-6 record in August. They’re definitely on the upswing, especially with a three-game winning streak that saw them defeat SSG in back-to-back games. 스포츠토토
As a result, their position in the standings is likely to be up for grabs by the end of the season. How they perform at the Asian Games, where they will be without their top players, will determine whether or not they make it to the fall feast.