New wild card spot leads to scramble for fifth placeThis year, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) decided to give a playoff wild card to the fifth-place team, and the surprise move has led to a big scramble.
The Kia Tigers, Hanwha Eagles and SK Wyverns are all neck-and-neck for the No. 5 spot. The three teams will have an important week, as they will all play against each other.
After facing the LG Twins on Monday, the Tigers host the Wyverns on Tuesday and Wednesday. They will then travel to Busan to meet the No. 8 Lotte Giants before clashing with the Eagles.
The Eagles this week will be looking to end their four-game losing streak. While new foreign replacement Esmil Rogers has been doing his job, other starting pitchers have not been reliable.
One concern for the Nexen Heroes is the health of their players. The Mokdong-based club played another Monday game yesterday against the Giants, meaning they haven’t taken a Monday break for two straight weeks.
This week is also critical for the Samsung Lions. The defending champions will have the chance to cement their No. 1 status as they meet the No. 3 Doosan Bears on Tuesday and Wednesday and then host the No. 2 NC Dinos on Thursday and Friday.
The Lions are hoping veteran slugger Lee Seung-yuop will return in their lineup after an injury.
The Dinos this week will not have a home game, meaning they’ll have a lot of travel amid the hot weather.
They go to Daejeon first to meet the Eagles and then Daegu to face the Lions. During the weekend, the Changwon-based club will be in Incheon for the Wyverns game.
BY JOO KYUNG-DON [firstname.lastname@example.org]