NC Dinos pull ahead as fourth playoff game is rained offWith five home runs, the NC Dinos have once again taken the lead in the first round of the playoffs, leading the Lotte Giants by two games to one after a 12-5 victory at Masan Baseball Stadium in Changwon on Wednesday.
Throughout the game, the Dinos hit home runs right when they needed it. Xavier Scruggs opened the scoring at the bottom of the first, hitting a two-run home run against Song Seung-jun’s splitter, allowing the Dinos to take the lead. Then, quickly after the Giants scored two runs to get to 3-2, No Jin-hyuk hit another home run for the Dinos against Song’s fastball. In addition to No’s home run in the third, he hit another home run in the eighth to further extend the Dinos’ lead. The two home runs allowed No to take the MVP title for the game.
Na Sung-bum and Mo Chang-min also hit home runs.
Not only the home runs, but also the Dinos’ tactics showed manager Kim Kyung-moon’s decisiveness after his long coaching career leading teams to the postseason. Though Jeff Manship only gave up three hits and two runs while pitching four innings, Kim had Manship off the mound and substituted seven other relief pitchers before the end of the game.
The fourth game of the series, and quite possibly the last for the Giants, was scheduled to be played on Thursday. The fans will have to wait, however, as the game was rained off about 40 minutes before it was due to start.
This is the fifth time in the history of the KBO that a game in the opening series of the playoffs has been canceled due to rain, and the 17th time any postseason game has been called off. The delay could give the Giants time to recover and possibly change the direction of the whole series.
As the Dinos had a total of eight pitchers on the mound throughout the game on Wednesday - and have been playing nearly non-stop since the wildcard series began last week - they may benefit even more than the Giants from this unexpected break.
If the Dinos win in tonight’s rescheduled game they will face the Doosan Bears on Monday in the second round of the playoffs, while the Giants head home empty handed.
However, if the Giants win, the fifth and the final game of the series will be delayed by a day, as the last game will be played at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan.
Since postseason regulations require teams to take a day off when switching stadiums, the fifth game will have to be played on Sunday at 2 p.m., rather than tomorrow.
As a result, the second round of the playoffs will also be delayed. The series against the Bears will be rescheduled to Tuesday, and the entirety of the remaining postseason schedule will also change.
The fourth game of the season is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. today at Masan Baseball Stadium. Rather than Park Se-woong, Josh Lindblom will start for the Giants and Choi Keum-kang will start for the Dinos.
BY KIM HYO-KYUNG AND BAE JUNG-HYUNE [email@example.com]