Doosan is currently in third place on the KBO Standings as of now but it’s looking like they won’t be able to sit up at the top of ladder once this season comes to a halt.
The two-time reigning defending champs have been a bit inconsistent this season with losing records coming from sixth placed Nexen Heroes and fifth placed LG Twins. Now, there are signs indicating that the Bears might just settle for second place or third if they continue to stay where they are.
The second placed NC Dinos are on a four-game winning streak while the real surprise is the current first placed team on the KBO Standings – the KIA Tigers.
|KIA Tigers||56||36||0||20||1 Win|
|NC Dinos||55||33||1||21||4 Wins|
|Doosan Bears||53||29||1||23||1 Win|
The Dinos might lose their footing with upcoming games against the Bears and the Tigers. But their remaining games should be manageable with the Lotte Giants and Nexen Heroes, tied for sixth place, and the seventh seeded KT Wiz Suwon as the only low seeded teams remaining in their schedule.
Meanwhile, the Bears have a tough schedule ahead of them with match-ups against the Tigers, Dinos, and the fourth seeded SK Wyverns. They will get some welcomed relief once they face the Giants, KT Wiz, the seventh seeded Hanwha Eagles, and the last placed Samsung Lions.
As for the Tigers, they will have to go through the Dinos, Bears, and the Wyverns. If they were able to weather the storm against those three teams, their matches against the Giants, Heroes, KT Wiz, Eagles, and Lions should secure their spot at the top.
Photo Credit: My KBO Stats
The Tigers have pounced
The Tigers have been a surprise last year, when they finally broke out of their bottom half standing since 2012 to be a wildcard contender for the 2016 KBO Playoffs. Unfortunately, a tie with the LG Twins who had a better regular season record than they had advanced to the playoffs.
They have been at the bottom of the standings for the past four years but they’re looking like a title contender with their recent rise in the rankings. KIA was stuck in eighth place for Semis. But it was just the spark that that they needed to start competing at a higher level.
In the offseason, they went all out with their acquisitions to bolster their roster. They got the reigning batting champion, Choi Hyoung-woo, for a KBO record of 10 billion won. They also signed another outfielder, Roger Bernadina, a former MLB player to help their cause.
Choi Hyoung-woo, Photo Credit: Yonhap News
The reinforcements they got, proved vital for their success this season. As of now, they currently have no losing record except for their 2-4 standing against the reigning KBO champs.
The Bears can hold their ground
If the Bears and Tigers do meet in the Korean Series, it would be a test to see whether precise pitching could thwart great batting.
The Tigers’ top four pitchers in their rotation have had solid performances this season. None of them went past Yang Hyun-jong’s 3.93 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.
Tigers – Pitching
|Im Ki-young||65 1/3||2.07||1.13|
|Hector Noesi||78 2/3||2.29||1.16|
|Pat Dean||69 2/3||3.23||1.38|
|Yang Hyun-jong||66 ½||3.93||1.40|
Hector Noesi, Photo Credit: Yonhap News
Im Ki-young has been the real story here with how well he’s performed during the course of the season while Hector Noesi continues to impress as he revives his baseball career in Korea. The only pitcher to have been close to Noesi and Ki-young’s numbers on the Bears’ side is Dustin Nippert while one of their side’s key players, Michael Bowden, has fallen out of the lineup.
Dustin Nippert, Photo Credit: Yonhap News
Bears – Pitching
|Dustin Nippert||70 2/3||2.42||1.19|
|Yu Hui-kwan||80 1/3||3.47||1.27|
|Jang Won-jun||54 2/3||3.13||1.28|
As for each side’s batting percentage, Doosan is ahead with .289 while KIA is close behind at .284. The Bears arguably have the best batters from both sides with 4 main rotation players hitting at .300 AVG and .400 OBP while 2 more have the same AVG with close to .400 OBP. To make things even more dangerous for any side that they’re facing, most of their main rotation batters have a .400 or more SLG.
Doosan Bears – Batting
Kim Jae-hwan, Photo Credit: Yonhap News
Meanwhile, KIA’s talent in batting is a bit short. Only four players from their team could come close to what the Bears have.
KIA Tigers – Batting
The Bears’ batting prowess could be the deciding factor if they do meet the Tigers in the Korean Series. But if KIA’s quartet of talented pitchers could strike out Doosan’s batters during the course of a series, then we might have to crown a new victor.