Rankings for the week of May 31 to June 5 (Tuesday to Sunday) (it's already June!) (week w/l records in parenthesis).
1. Kia Tigers 5-1
Kia limited hard hitting LG to 5 runs in their mid week series and then sweeped (!) SK in very tight games (wins of 4-1, 3-2, 2-1). Now on a 5 game run and realistically about to do more damage as they face a limp Doosan Bears next. They're now the owners of 30 wins, more than 1st place SK's 29. But Kia sit second in the standings due to having 3 more losses than SK.
Lee Yong-gyu's bases loaded double in Game 3 of the SK series brought home the two runs needed to beat SK for the third straight time. Homeboy is hitting .370 (good for 2nd in league) and way higher than his previous yearly high of .318 notched way back in '06 as a third year.
Their entire rotation took turns snatching up W's this week (Yang, Trav, Yoon, Lopez, and Seo).
2. Hanhwa Eagles 4-2
Things are definitely continuing to look up with the Orange Jays oops I mean Eagles. They won both (!) serieses this week and didn't get blown out once. This is due to 4 straight quality starts from their starters and effective pitching overall. They let in 18 runs this week. Hanhwa often lets in 18 runs a game.
Offense is still an issue because their .240 team batting average is still way at the bottom of that stat list and all their other stats are last or second or third last as well. Choi Jin-heng hits a lot of home-runs and is still a threat to go long in tight games but Kang Dong-woo is only mediocre-ly decent. As everyone, we're all waiting anxiously to see what Karim Garcia will do to the Eagles' offense.
3. LG Twins 3-3
Great run was stymied by Kia's power surge. But some retribution was found winning the weekend Lotte series. Now forced to share their second place in the standings with Kia with identical records of 30-23, LG still has the upper in terms of total runs scored (265 to 259) (first and second respectively).
Youngster Lim Chan-gyu is turning into an all-Korea closer humming along with 3 saves in a row to match his more than pretty decent 1.93 ERA. He gave up one home run to Hwang Jae-gyun in his appearance in the Friday Lotte game and this was the only run given up in 3 of Lim's appearances this week. The young man's dating pool is expanding like a category 5 as we speak.
4. Samsung Lions 3-3
Mediocre results and statistics across the board for Ryu Joong-il's boys out of Daegu. Dropping from 3rd to 4th in the standings, they let in an average of 3.8 runs a game this week while hitting .271. Their 27 wins leave them out of the loop of the 3 current elite squads of the Organization (LG, Kia, SK). The blue crew did lead the league this week with 9 double plays. I believe this is a result of the team-first mentality this squad has been working with for the past few seasons.
Ken Katokura has been quite the catch. Katku from Kathmandu (actually he's from Japan) only let in 3 runs and snatched 2 dubs this week. He's fitting in very well with the other starters in the rotation who are generally continuing to be pretty effective.
Ryan Garko's on his last legs connecting only 3 times this week and still has only 1 long ball on the year.
5. Doosan Bears 3-3
Getting a little too comfortable down with the bottom four. Rode SK pretty well for a series win, but fell apart in games 1 and 2 to Samsung for the series loss. Rotation is definitely an issue. Sun and Nippert are elites in the league, but the likes of Hong Sang-sam and Seo Dong-hwan do not have batmen shivering. Another issue is timely batting. The team logged 6 long balls this week but 4 were meaningless single run laps.
Seo Dong-hwan joins the Bears' ro fresh off serving his nation via mandatory military service Korean dudes don't want to do. He looked like he didn't want to pitch much either in his Sunday start (loss) against Samsung. His 5 ER's in 3 innings look pretty par for the course when comparing it to his lifetime 6.85. He has 19 K's in 43.1 innings of work lifetime. This doesn't look too promising but he did hang tough in his SK start going 5 and only letting in 1.
6. Lotte Giants 3-3
Giants' post-Royster search for an identity continues. They can lose close like the first two games of the LG series, or bomb opponents like in the 11-5 win in the series finale. These are not the free swinging, replace the pitcher whenever Giants of the last few years. This week, they decided to go offense. They scored an insane 43 runs this week with Lee Dae-ho accounting for 9. Giants' offense has been pretty well spread out and their pitching is also pretty even (ly mediocre) across the board.
Jang Won-joon is really coming alive snatching wins whenever he can. He is 6-1 on the season with a W and a no D in 2 starts this week. He's only walked 1 or 2 in his last for starts and didn't walk anyone 5 starts ago in an ND against Kia.
Lim Kyeong-wang is seemingly the only Giant pitcher having any luck keeping runners away from home as his 2.63 ERA is the only ERA on staff anywhere near the 2's.
7. Nexen Heroes 2-4
The league punching bag took revenge bagging two wins from Lotte and Hanhwa. Their 6.84 average runs allowed per game this week was dead last but they did hit 7 home runs. If you read above, that would mean they hit more home runs than Doosan. Their weekend series against Hanhwa was surprisingly tight. They only made 2 errors in the series and allowed 8 runs. When you're the Nexen Heroes, this is where you start and look for ways to improve.
Nexen is a team where mediocrity is the norm. In the batting order, you have gems like Kang Byung-sik and Oh Yoon hitting .143 and .083 on the week respectively. You know you're lacking power when your offensive weapon is Yoo Han-joon with 0 home runs and 0.297 on the year. How about the pitching? Well nobody has yet to crack 3 wins on the year and only Son Shin-yong has an ERA in the 2's.
But have you tried the draft Hites and American style hot dogs at Mok-dong stadium? I would pay 6K's to sit and drink the draft Hites and eat the American style hot dogs aat Mok-dong stadium.
8. SK Wyverns 1-5
Disastrous week but still at the top of the standings due to wins early in the season. They have less wins than LG and Kia as mentioned above, but SK lost less. They've also played less than those two teams. In fact, their 49 games played is the least amount played in the Organization. They were swept by Kia in the weekend and if that's not enough embarrassment their team BA for the week is a head in the sand worthy .170.
Their entire rotation took turns taking losses this week. Very surprising is supposed superstar pitcher Kim Kwang-hyun still riding a 2-4 and 5.02 this late into the season. Trying to bounce back from a disastrous 1.1 inning outing when he let in 7 runs May 27 against Samsung. Kim had to settle for another L in his June 1 start against Doosan despite going 7 innings and only letting in 2.
Will hop on the bus to western Seoul to play the Nexen HeroZZZzzz next. It will be pretty embarrassing if they lose their first place in the standings after this series.