Eight possible outcomes as top teams fight over playoff spots
The last day of the 2020 KBO regular season is set to be a nail-biter, with four of the five top-ranked teams still fighting over the final standing and an easier ticket to the playoffs.
Of the top five teams, only the No. 1 NC Dinos have locked in their spot, earning the regular season title and guaranteeing themselves a bye straight to the Korean Series, scheduled to begin on Nov. 17.
The No. 2 KT Wiz, No. 3 LG Twins, No. 4 Kiwoom Heroes and No. 5 Doosan Bears are still fighting over the last four spots.
That final ranking could make a huge difference to a team's postseason.
The team that eventually finishes second will not have to play again until the second round of the playoffs, while the team that finishes third goes straight to the first round of the playoffs and the fourth- and fifth-ranked teams head to the Wildcard Series, which the fourth-ranked team enters with a one-game advantage.
Heading into the final day of the regular season on Friday — or almost final, as the Dinos and the No. 6 Kia Tigers will play a make-up game on Saturday that has absolutely no impact on the final standing — there are eight possible outcomes. And that's assuming nobody records a tie.
With KT facing the No. 10 Hanwha Eagles and LG taking on the No. 9 SK Wyverns, its possible, and likely, that they'll both pick up wins and stay in the exact same positions.
The bigger question surrounds Kiwoom and Doosan, who face each other, so one team is likely to pick up a loss.
The following are the eight possible outcomes of tonight's games. All five games — the Dinos will also face the No. 8 Samsung Lions and the Tigers will take on the No. 7 Lotte Giants — are set to start at 6:30 p.m.
1. KT win, LG win, Kiwoom win, Doosan lose. All four teams remain in the same position.
2. KT win, LG win, Kiwoom lose, Doosan win. KT are still in second, LG in third, Doosan take fourth and Kiwoom drop to fifth.
3. KT win, LG lose, Kiwoom win, Doosan lose. KT stay in second, Kiwoom take third, LG drop to fourth and Doosan stay in fifth.
4. KT win, LG lose, Kiwoom lose, Doosan win. KT stay in second, Doosan take third, LG fall to fourth and Kiwoom to fifth.
5. KT lose, LG win, Kiwoom win, Doosan lose. LG take second, Kiwoom take third, KT fall to fourth and Doosan stay in fifth.
6. KT lose, LG win, Kiwoom lose, Doosan win. LG take second, KT fall to third, Doosan take fourth and Kiwoom drop to fifth.
7. KT lose, LG lose, Kiwoom win, Doosan lose. Kiwoom take second, KT fall to third, LG to fourth and Doosan stay in fifth.
8. KT lose, LG lose, Kiwoom lose, Doosan win. KT hold on to second, Doosan take third, LG fall to fourth and Kiwoom drop to fifth.
The playoffs will officially begin on Nov. 1 with the Wildcard Series.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]