Landers rise to top of KBO table with Twins, Bears and Dinos in pursuit

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Landers rise to top of KBO table with Twins, Bears and Dinos in pursuit

A packed crowd watches the LG Twins take on the Samsung Lions at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in southern Seoul on Sunday.  [NEWS1]

A packed crowd watches the LG Twins take on the Samsung Lions at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in southern Seoul on Sunday. [NEWS1]

Just eight games into the 2023 KBO season and the table has already started to sort itself into a repeat of last year, with the SSG Landers and LG Twins taking the top two spots and the Hanwha Eagles, Samsung Lions and Lotte Giants all headed toward the bottom of the table.
Not everything is a repeat of last year, however, with the Doosan Bears and NC Dinos currently tied for third after both finishing out of the playoffs last year, while eventual 2022 runners-up Kiwoom are currently down in seventh.
The first weather cancelations of the year interrupted the midweek series, with only the two Seoul series managing to play all three games.
Down in Suwon, Gyeonggi, the KT Wiz and Kia Tigers failed to play a single game, while the Lotte Giants and SSG Landers only fared one better in Incheon, with SSG winning 3-1 on Tuesday.
In Daegu the Hanwha Eagles and Samsung Lions split the two games they were able to play, with the home team winning 7-6 on Tuesday and the Eagles benefitting from an unexpected day of rest to take Thursday’s game 8-1.
Up in Seoul, the Twins and Heroes were unaffected by the weather at Gocheok Sky Dome. The Twins took the series with two games to one, winning 7-1 on Tuesday, before dropping a close 2-1 game on Wednesday and taking the rubber match 5-0.
The Bears and Dinos also managed to play through the series, with the Bears taking it two games to one: 1-0, 3-9, 6-2.
Moving into the weekend there were decidedly sunnier skies across the country and three teams cracked out the brooms to take advantage of the nice weather.
The reigning champion Landers made short work of perennial bottom feeders Hanwha, sweeping them 7-3, 7-5, 3-0 to extend their season line to five wins and one loss.
The Twins, enjoying their first home stand of the season, swept the Lions despite a few close calls, ultimately winning the series: 7-2, 2-1, 3-2.
Down in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, the Dinos also enjoyed their first sweep of the season on their first home series, beating the Heroes with three confident performances: 2-0, 11-5, 6-1.
Four straight losses for the Heroes, running from Thursday through the weekend, saw the west Seoul team tumble from first place to seventh in the span of four days, a harrowing drop, although not yet a particularly concerning one with over 130 games still to be played.
Down in Gwangju, the Bears held off the Tigers with two games on one, winning 4-1 on Friday before allowing Kia their first home win of the season on Saturday, 7-6. The Bears came back on Sunday to eke out a narrow 3-2 victory to take the series.
The Wiz were similarly merciless down in Busan over the weekend, beating the Giants — 7-1, 7-3 — on Friday and Saturday before the home team took a 5-3 consolation game on Sunday.
The KBO returns Tuesday as Doosan hosts local rivals Kiwoom while LG travels down to Lotte to take on the Giants, the Landers visit the Lions in Daegu, KT face NC in Changwon and the Eagles take on the Tigers in Gwangju.
The weekend brings the first Jamsil derby — a subway series so acutely localized that nobody has to actually take the subway — as Doosan take on LG at their shared stadium in southern Seoul.
Elsewhere, the Landers host the Dinos in Incheon, the Giants and Lions — another two teams with a long rivalry behind them — face off in Daegu, the Eagles head up the road to Suwon to take on the Wiz and the Tigers face the Heroes in western Seoul.

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