The SSG Landers held on to the No. 1 spot over another week of KBO action as the second-place Lotte Giants and third-place LG Twins jostle for space at the crowded top of the table.
The Landers edge out the competition with 23 wins, 12 losses and one tie, one win more and one loss fewer than the Twins. The Giants, however, take second place on winning percentage, having played six fewer games than the Landers due to rain and pollution cancellations.
The Landers had a mixed week, beating the seventh-place Kia Tigers two games to one in their midweek series — 0-3, 5-3, 5-3 — before splitting their weekend series with the ninth-place Hanwha Eagles: 2-5, 8-5, 3-3.
That series was a major coup for the Eagles, who fired manager Carlos Subero on Thursday and appointed former minor league skipper Choi Won-ho to the top spot.
Even before Subero’s exit, the Eagles had not been having a bad week, beating the sixth-place Samsung Lions in some midweek action: 1-9, 5-1, 4-0.
The second-place Giants started the week by beating the Doosan Bears — 2-5, 3-0, 7-6 — before pulling off an almost identical series against the 10th-place KT Wiz over the weekend — 1-2, 5-0, 8-3.
The Twins also had a solid week, winning both of their series two games to one — 5-4, 1-11, 1-0 — against the eighth-place Kiwoom Heroes during the week and 0-4, 7-4, 8-5 over the weekend against the Lions.
The gap between third and fourth place grew this week, with the NC Dinos taking the No. 4 spot, 3.5 games behind the Twins.
Despite the gap, the Dinos were responsible for the only sweep during the midweek action, beating the Wiz 16-4, 8-7, 4-1 at Suwon KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi. The Changwon club had worse luck moving into the weekend, losing to the Heroes: 7-4, 9-2, 4-6.
The fifth-place Bears were responsible for the sole other sweep of the week, beating the Tigers at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in southern Seoul: 6-1, 5-1, 8-4.
The Dinos have the chance to inch themselves back into the top three this week as they host the Landers in Changwon, South Gyeongsang, for some midweek action. Elsewhere in the KBO, the Giants head to Daejeon to take on the Eagles, the Twins hold the Wiz at Jamsil, the Bears travel to western Seoul to take on the Heroes and the Tigers and Lions face off in Daegu.
The weekend brings a first and second place faceoff as the Giants host the Landers at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan. The other clubs in the top five all have relatively easy matches, with the Twins taking on the Eagles, the Dinos facing the Lions and the Bears playing the Wiz. The Heroes and Tigers will face off in Gwangju to complete the weekend action.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]