Kia Tigers revive fading hopes of a top-five upset. Their next target is the Doosan Bears. In the event of a certain win/loss scenario for both teams, the KBO’s first-ever ‘single-elimination fifth-place game’ will be played. The ‘one-gun match’ could be the first step in a new history.
On October 11, KIA won an 11-0 series against the Gwangju Kiwoom Heroes. With the victory, KIA reached 70 wins (2 draws and 68 losses) for the season and remained in sixth place in the league.
On that day, KIA sent their “big pitcher” Yang Hyun-jong to the mound. He pitched a no-hitter until the second inning.
KIA pitcher Yang Hyun-jong pitched eight scoreless innings against Gwangju Kiwoom on October 11 to earn his eighth win of the season. Photo (Gwangju)=KIA Tigers
KIA revived its top-five hopes with an 11-0 win over Gwangju Kiwoom on Oct. 11. Photo (Gwangju)=KIA Tigers
The KIA bats provided plenty of offense in the bottom of the second inning. In the bottom of the second inning, KIA drew three consecutive walks to load the bases against opposing starter Lee Jong-min. The next batter, Kim Kyu-sung, hit a grounder to shortstop and scored on a throwing error.
With two outs and runners on second and third, Kim Do-young hit a grounder to second base and Ko Jong-wook singled to center field.스포츠토토 After a throwing error by the left fielder and a single to right by Socrates, KIA extended its lead to 6-0 when Lee Woo-sung grounded out to third base and Kim Tae-gun grounded out to third base.
A run in the bottom of the third made it 7-0, and Yang Hyun-jong pitched a scoreless fifth inning to easily fulfill the requirement of eight wins for the season.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kim Do-young and Socrates hit RBI singles and Lee Woo-sung hit a grounder to shortstop to extend the lead to 11-0.
Yang Hyun-jong, who was on the mound through the sixth and seventh innings and into the top of the eighth, walked three straight batters to load the bases with one out. However, Yang induced back-to-back groundouts from the next two batters and eventually pitched eight scoreless innings. In the top of the ninth inning, the KIA bench sent Seung-hyun Kim to the mound to close out the game.
In the meantime, fifth-ranked Doosan suffered a 3-14 loss to the Sajik Lotte Giants. With Doosan’s second straight loss, Kia is now two games behind. Hopes of a top-five finish are alive and well.
KBO’s first-ever best-of-five series…KIA 4 wins, Doosan 3 wins, 3 losses scenario possible
KIA and Doosan could play the KBO’s first ever best-of-five series. Photo by Kim Young-gu
Now, KIA can flip the standings if they win all four of their remaining games and Doosan goes 2-4 or worse in their remaining six games. If KIA goes 3-1, Doosan must go 1-5 or worse, and if KIA goes 2-2, Doosan must lose all of its remaining games to flip the rankings.
Since KIA and Doosan have the same number of draws (2), we cannot rule out the possibility of a tie for the final win percentage. For example, if KIA wins 4 games and Doosan wins 3 games and loses 3 games, the teams will tie for the final regular season win percentage of 0.521. If both teams finish tied for fifth, the KBO’s first-ever fifth-place game would be organized.
The KBO introduced the fifth-place game ahead of the 2022 season. If two teams finish the regular season in a five-way tie for fifth place, they will play a single-elimination game the day before the wild-card game (the fourth- and fifth-place finishers in the regular season) to determine the final five teams. This is the same way KT WIZ and Samsung Lions played a tiebreaker game for the top spot in the 2021 season. If three or more teams have the same winning percentage, they will not play a separate game, and the fifth place will be decided in the order of most wins, most points, and previous year’s performance.
If Doosan and Kia end up tied for fifth place, they will play a single-elimination fifth-place game on October 18, the day before the first game of the wild card round on October 19. With Doosan already holding the head-to-head advantage this season (11-4), the best-of-five series will be played at Doosan’s home stadium, Jamsil Stadium. It’s a grueling schedule that we don’t want to imagine, as we’ll have to go all out in the best-of-five series and then play the wild card game the next day.
In the end, the final regular-season meeting between the two teams at Jamsil Stadium on October 13 will be a big turning point in the fifth-place fight. On that day, Doosan will send their ‘homegrown ace’ Kwak Bin back to the mound after returning from the Asian Games, while KIA will have to utilize alternate starting options such as Hwang Dong-ha or Kim Gun-guk. It will be interesting to see if the ‘Dangun Match’ will be the first ever fifth place decider in the KBO.