Lotte Giants posed to lock down second placeWith the Daegu Samsung Lions already clinching the regular season title of the Korean Professional Baseball League, the Busan Lotte Giants are set to take second place for first time in the club’s history.
The Giants, led by manager Yang Seung-ho, could lock down silver medal status if they claim two victories in their remaining three games against the Daejeon Hanwha Eagles, starting today.
Mathematically, the third place Incheon SK Wyverns can still snag the runner-up position from the Giants, but their chances are slim as they must win at least three of their remaining four games and the Giants must lose at least twice to the Eagles.
“We will seal the second place spot after Tuesday’s game or at least no later than Wednesday’s game,” Yang said on Sunday. “If our ranking is decided on the final day [Thursday], it will put a lot of pressure on our players.”
Taking second place is important to these teams, because under the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) format, the runner-up can directly advance to the second round of the playoffs, while teams that finish third or fourth in the regular season have to play in the first round of playoffs to reach the second round.
The winner of the second round then faces the Lions in the Korean Series.
History shows that runners-up have an advantage in reaching the Korean Series. Since the current post season format was adopted in 1989, only eight teams have failed to advance to the Korean Series after finishing second in the regular season.
The Giants have not finished second in the regular season since 1989. In 1984 and 1992, the years the Giants won the title, the team finished third in the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Giants are also expected to rewrite their own single season attendance record over the next three days.
As of yesterday, a total of 1,309,058 fans visited Sajik Baseball Stadium. If the Giants gather an additional 70,962 fans in the next three days, it will break the all-time single-season attendance record.
By Joo Kyung-don [firstname.lastname@example.org]