Giants out for revenge on road to gloryThe Lotte Giants and SK Wyverns will meet again in tonight’s winner-take-all game, with the Giants hoping to avenge their loss from last year.
The fifth and last game in the second playoff series starts at Munhak Stadium in Incheon at 6 p.m.
The Wyverns, which have home field advantage, are hoping to clinch their sixth straight berth to the Korean Series, while the Giants are looking to advance for the first time in 13 years.
The Wyverns won 8-4 at this stage last year but there is a newfound sense of self-belief among the Giants that may see the Incheon-based franchise cause an upset.
The Giants won five and lost 13 against the Wyverns during the regular season in 2008. They improved slightly to 6-13 in 2009 and 7-12 in 2010, but the Busan club gained ground under manager Yang Seung-ho to post 8-10 in 2011 and 10-9 this season.
During last year’s playoff, the Giants never got an edge, but they did this year by winning the third game 4-1 on Friday. The Wyverns forced a fifth game with a 2-1 victory on Saturday.
For the fifth game, Yang chose Shane Youman (13-7), the best resource the club has in its bull pen. Although still reeling from his loss in the first game Tuesday, Youman delivered a solid pitching performance, allowing two runs over 5.1 innings. “If Youman starts well and [relievers] Kim Sung-bae, Chong Dae-hyon and the others back him up, I think we’ll get a good result,” Yang said. Youman is again set to duel with Kim Kwang-hyun, who delivered 10 strikeouts and gave up only five hits in SK’s 2-1 victory in the first game. Wyverns manager Lee Man-soo chose Kim (8-5), the Wyverns’ ace, to start tonight’s game. Lee plans to call up Chae Byung-yong and Yoon Hee-sang later in the game. “I think Kim Kwang-hyun will be able to pitch as well in this game as he did in the first,” he added.
The victor will play the regular season winner Samsung Lions in the best-of-seven Korean Series from Wednesday in Daegu, home turf to the Lions.
Only 10 times in the history of the Korea Baseball Organization has the playoff been decided in the final game. The winner has gone on to claim the Korean Series twice.
In Saturday’s game, Jeong Keun-woo went 4 for 4, scoring both runs for the club. SK starter Mario Santiago pitched six shutout innings and struck out six. Giants’ starter Jin Myung-ho was replaced by Lee Jung-min in the third inning after surrendering two hits and two walks. Lee, who allowed two hits and one run over two and two-third innings, took the loss.
By Moon Gwang-lip [email@example.com]