Samsung at advantage heading into series play

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Samsung at advantage heading into series play

While the Doosan Bears and the Lotte Giants played a physically draining five-game battle in their first round playoff series, the Samsung Lions are all smiles.

In the eight-team KBO, teams that finish third and fourth in the regular season meet in the first round of the playoffs, with the winner moving on to the second round to face the second-place team. Then, the winner of the second round advances to the Korean Series to face the team with the best regular season record - this year, the SK Wyverns.

With the KBO playoff format the way it is, Samsung’s chances of winning the upcoming series and advancing to the Korean Series are looking good.

Going by the numbers, the team that gets a bye in the first round has a huge advantage when the first round extends to a lengthy series. In the history of the KBO, eight teams won the first round in five games and only one of those teams - the 2006 Hanwha Eagles - managed to win the second round to advance to the Korean Series. Four of the other seven teams (Taepyungyang in 1989, Samsung in 2000 and Hanwha in 2005 and 2007) were swept in the second round.

So it’s clear that Samsung has a solid chance to make it to the Korean Series. This is only obvious when considering that Samsung will face a team that is likely physically drained and has not had a chance to properly recuperate in time for the second round.

The winner of the first round last night - the game was not decided as of press time - faces a tight schedule in the following series. The manager and captain of the team will attend a media-day press conference at Daegu Stadium today and will get a brief break before game one of the second round starts tomorrow at 6 p.m.

Both Lotte’s and Doosan’s pitchers are likely to fatigued and how Samsung’s opponent pitches in its first game of the second round could go a long way in determining the outcome of the series. In a best-of-five series, the first game can have an effect on the entire series.

In contrast, the Samsung Lions have played three exhibition games and have had plenty of rest to prepare for the second round of playoffs. In addition, the winner of the first round is also at a big disadvantage from a strategic point of view considering the Samsung staff has been breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of the clubs in the first round.

By Oh Myeong-chul []
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