The KBO, which finished the first half of the season in a seven-way tie for second place, is showing signs of making a big move just over a month into the second half. The ‘seven-way’ is being split by a mix of winning streaks and losing streaks.
Second-place SSG and third-place Doosan were separated by four games at the start of the second half. The bottom two teams were so close to each other that only seven games separated third-place Doosan and ninth-place Kiwoom, while last-place Samsung and ninth-place Kiwoom were separated by five games.
After five days, however, third-place Doosan-NC and ninth-place Kiwoom were separated by 9.5 games. Instead, the two teams in third place and sixth-place KIA are separated by 1.5 games. The gap between sixth-place Kia and seventh-place Lotte is now four games, while last-place Samsung has eliminated the gap between itself and ninth-place Kiwoom and is also within four games of Lotte.
Seven of the first half’s teams have split into two groups in the second half due to staggered wins and losses.
The team with the most momentum since the start of the second half is KT. With 11 wins and three losses in 14 games through May 5, the team has gone back-to-back without a loss, with one loss after a three-game winning streak and one loss after a seven-game winning streak. In the middle of summer, when the mound tends to get tired, KT has been able to rack up wins by utilizing its starting strength. Nine of its 11 wins have come in starts. The team, which was in last place on June 4, reached third place on June 4, just two months later. As of June 5, they are in fifth place with NC and Doosan tied for third.
Close behind them is KIA, which has lost one game and won three in a row after winning four in a row. Their starting pitching has stabilized from the first half of the season with the addition of foreign pitchers, and their offense is on fire. Seven of their eight wins (four losses) in the second half of the season have come in the first 12 games. A team-best .307 batting average has helped power the mound.
After an 11-game winning streak in the first two games of the second half that seemed to put them in the “top two,” Doosan has since plummeted to five straight losses, leaving Doosan, NC, KT, and KIA within 1.5 games of each other for third place. The momentum of teams with stable starters is not easy to break.
Lotte, Hanwha, and Kiwoom, on the other hand, are out of the top seven. Since the start of the second half of the season, Hanwha has gone 4-9, Lotte has gone 4-10, and Kiwoom has gone 3-1 with a win-loss record of just over two percent.
Hanwha has one four-game losing streak after starting with two straight losses, while Lotte has two wins after three straight, one win after four straight, and now three straight losses. Hanwha has the best starting pitching but the highest bullpen ERA at 6.42, while Lotte has a decent bullpen but still struggles with their starters. All four wins have come in starts, but seven of the 10 losses have also come in starts. Outside of Barnes (3 wins) and Wilkerson (1 win), no Korean starter has won the second half of a game.먹튀검증
Kiwoom lost momentum after the injury to Lee Jeong-hoo and made a crucial trade that sent out starter Choi Won-tae, and have lost seven straight games. Ahn Woo-jin and Hurado have been struggling, but the lack of batting support has left them in a losing streak. From their second-half start, they won three games against Lotte and Hanwha, but crucially, they were unable to break their losing streak after going 1-2 in a three-game series against last-place Samsung, and are now in danger of falling to the bottom of the table.
Samsung, who looked like they were going to finish last in the first half of the season, suddenly came alive in the second half with their batting average (0.336), going 8-1 and 5-0 to get out of the ‘one-way’. The race in the second half is turning into a four-way tie for second place.