KT Wiz extend lead after wet weekend of baseball
The KT Wiz held on to the top spot in the KBO after another week of action, riding an eight-game hitting streak to the biggest lead the league has seen this season.
It was a heavily disrupted week of baseball, with Covid-19 outbreaks and rain interrupting most midweek series and downpours across the country stopping all games on Saturday. Yet despite only managing four games throughout the week, the Wiz extended their lead in first place to three games, the biggest margin since the season began on April 3.
With all series incomplete over the weekend, the KBO made the unusual move of adding games on Monday. All ten teams were set to play on Monday evening as of press time, before starting their regularly scheduled series on Tuesday.
The Wiz won two games against the Kiwoom Heroes over the weekend, taking the first game on Friday 4-1, returning on Sunday to finish the job 12-3. The sweep followed victories against the LG Twins on Wednesday and Thursday to extend the Suwon team's lead in first place.
The Kiwoom Heroes, who took sixth place last week, managed to hold on despite the two losses, having beaten the Lotte Giants with two games to one in their midweek series.
The Samsung Lions climbed up to second place, three games behind the Wiz, pulling ahead of the Twins with two wins against the NC Dinos over the weekend, 5-2, 5-0.
The Lions only picked up one win in their midweek series against the SSG Landers, playing an unusual four-game series with a double header scheduled to make up for a previously canceled game. The series ended with the Landers winning two, Samsung taking one, and one tie.
The Dinos remain in fifth place with a three-game hitting streak. They split their midweek series with the Kia Tigers with one game each.
The Twins slipped down to third, splitting a two-game series with the Hanwha Eagles. The 10th-place Eagles won the opening game on Friday 5-3, before LG bounced back on Sunday with a 5-0 shutout to split the shortened series.
Friday's win snapped a 10-game losing streak for Hanwha, who dropped two midweek games to the Doosan Bears after being shutout over the previous two seasons. The Daejeon team remain in 10th place, a full 18.5 games behind the Wiz.
The Landers round off the top four, but a difficult weekend with two losses to the eighth-place Giants sees them fall five points behind first place. Both games were tight, with the Giants taking the win at the last minute — 6-5 in extra innings on Friday and 6-4 with two runs in the ninth on Sunday.
The Bears fell even further back in seventh place, losing two games to the Tigers — 8-3, 7-3 — to slip 9.5 games behind first place. The Bears have dropped seven of their last 10 games, a performance worse than anyone else in the league apart from the Eagles.
This week's KBO table sees a far more dramatic points spread than at any other point so far this season.
For the first three months of the season, the KBO remained unusually tight, with the top six teams all within a few points of each other. Although the Tigers, Eagles and Giants fell behind, the gap was rarely more than 10 games. At that point, the Heroes were No. 7, floating between the two camps.
Over the last few weeks that has changed dramatically, with the Bears switching place with the Heroes and the other eight teams quickly spreading out to give the Wiz a stronger lead in first.
A few personnel changes have taken place over the last few weeks as teams have released struggling foreign players to try and reinvigorate the lineup. The latest change went to the Eagles, who on Sunday released struggling first baseman Ryon Healy.
After replaying the canceled games on Monday, the KBO will return on Tuesday as the Dinos take on the Bears in Jamsil, southern Seoul, the Twins head to Busan to face the Giants, the Wiz play the Lions in Daegu, the Landers travel to western Seoul to take on the Heroes and the Tigers and the Eagles face off in Daejeon.
BY JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]