Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 19 Rankings and Things

LG Twins in the post season. Lots of people want it!

Week of Tuesday, August 9 to Sunday, August 14. 20 of the 24 games scheduled went ahead.

1. Samsung Lions (3-2) Split a condensed series against Hanhwa then took 2 of 3 from a crucial Kia series keeping Samsung at the top of the standings yet again. Oh Seong-hwan is the best closer in the game with 35 saves on the year, that's a full 22 more than SK's Jeong Dae-hyun, who is second with 13. Noobie Doug Mathis is 2-0, 1.42 since finalizing his immigration papers. Samsung's other starters Anh Ji-man (11-4, 2.88), Yoon Seung-hwan (9-4, 3.16), and Cho Woo-chan (8-4, 3.29) may make up the best 1-2-3 in the league. Offensively, Samsung plays good baseball, and they still can win despite only Choi Hyung-woo (.313/.417/.568, 108 hits) being spectacular. The Lions ran out of gas in their 2010 Korean Series appearance being swept by SK. Fixing this power issue is a must if they don't want to face the same fate this season.

2. SK Wyverns (3-2) Sitting at 3rd place but has 5 games in hand against first place Samsung and a full 13 games in hand against second place Kia. Second place is a very real possibility and with the welcoming addition of Ben Gordon, now 3-2, 2.43, SK has a realistic chance of clinching the regular season. Their 1-2-3 starters of Song Eun-bum (8-4, 3.32), Gary Glover (7-3, 3.20), and Lee Seung-ho (6-2, 2.68) are as good as any. Former Korean Series MVP Choi Jeong is the star of this team's offense currently riding 103 hits and a .328/.422/.541 slash line. I love slash lines that go 3-4-and-5.

3. Kia Tigers (3-3) Handled 2 of 3 from a fading LG but couldn't produce to make ground on first place against Samsung in the losing series described above. Yoon Suk-min (13-4, 2.48) is on a personal 2 game losing streak, but surprising is Kim Hyu-gul, a mediocre career middle reliever, currently on an 11 and 2/3 inning shut-out streak. Kim started and won 2 games in a row but was used in middle relief again in the Sunday vs. Samsung game and gave up a hit and no runs. I like the options Kia has.

4. Lotte Giants (3-2) Slowing down a bit with a 6-4 in their last 10. 6 game winning streaks and a revived Hong Seung-heun (.304/.378/.386) has Lotte firmly but thinly holding onto the 4th and last playoff space. Lotte split the rain shortened series with the 5th place Twins. But Lotte only beat LG 8-7 in total runs in that two game set. This signals the tightness of this current race. Lotte has established themselves as a hitters team as its .347 team batting average is good for best in the league as is their 82 home runs helped a lot by Lee Dae-ho's 22.

5. LG Twins (2-3) Twins had a hot start to this season but their performance lately has been middle of the road. Offensively, their .269 team batting average is good for 4th in the league and star right fielder Lee Byong-gyu is the only batter hitting over .300 (.331). They do have some power as said Lee with his good friends Cho In-seong (15) and Park Yong-tek (13) help LG to be the third best home run hitting team in the KBO with 76. Defensively, their 4.12 team ERA is good for 4th in the league again and actually beats current arch-rival Lotte's 4.34. LG has got to gain some ground against non-playoff Doosan because the other series they got next week is against first place Samsung.

6. Doosan Bears (3-2) 5 and 5 in their last 10 make them average and this is doing them no favors as they sit well out of playoff positioning with September coming up. They have played the least number of games with 91, tied with Nexen, and may make up some ground to make a run for the post season if they play more than mediocre but it's not working out like this right now. They will rumble against a hungry LG team but get an easier Hanhwa team in the series after that. But Doosan split a series against the Eagles most recently including a very embarrassing 8-2 loss. A sweep of the next two series, however unlikely, will still have Doosan out of a playoff spot even if you don't count that the other teams would also win during that time.

7. Hanhwa Eagles (2-2) As a bottom tier team, with no dream of winning a playoff game this season, the various contributors of this team do hold their own at times. They are 4 and 6 in their last 10 and have won games against all the good teams recently. Sometimes this team clicks, most of the time it doesn't. For instance, look at the team batting of their last five games: .381, .235, .361, .152, .371. Eagles' offense is either hitting like pros or limp, depending on their mood. Either way, Hanhwa is an overall bad team, their offense, despite their outburst is last with a .248 team BA and their 5.18 team ERA is also good for last. Hanhwa's next series is a battle for second last place against Nexen.

8. Nexen Heroes (1-4) A huge opportunity to finally get out of last place with a 3 game set against Hanhwa coming up. Nexen may be wasting away at last place in the standings but they are still ahead of Hanhwa in team batting (.250) and team ERA (4.56). Shim Soo-chan (1-8, 5.30) finally won a game this season after coming over from LG in their trade, but preceded to lose his next game. The game in question was the most recent 11-0 thrashing the boys in burgundy received by the hands of the SK Wyverns. Nexen committed no errors and every single last one of those 11 runs Nexen allowed were earned. Nexen is an extremely unskilled baseball team.

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