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KBO postseason matchups set on last day of reg. season for contenders

All News 22:30 October 30, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- It took them the entire 144-game schedule, and South Korean baseball contenders now know whom they'll face in the postseason starting next month.

The postseason matchups in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) were set on Friday, the last day of meaningful games for playoff-bound clubs. The NC Dinos, who clinched the top seed last Saturday, and the Kia Tigers, who were eliminated from the race last week, are scheduled to play a makeup game on Saturday.

Members of the Doosan Bears stand behind the banner celebrating their sixth consecutive trip to the Korea Baseball Organization postseason after defeating the Kiwoom Heroes 2-0 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Oct. 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

The KT Wiz, the Doosan Bears, the LG Twins and the Kiwoom Heroes had already secured the remaining four postseason spots, with only their seeding to be determined on Friday.

The Wiz grabbed the No. 2 seed despite falling to the Hanwha Eagles 4-3 on Friday. At 81-62-1, they're heading into the first postseason in franchise history.

The Bears, defending Korean Series champions, began Friday in fifth place but jumped to No. 3 by beating the Heroes 2-0 and having the SK Wyverns beat the Twins 3-2.

The Bears and the Twins finished with identical 79-61-4 records, but the Bears held the tiebreak edge by winning the season series 9-6-1.

The Heroes 80-63-1 ended in fifth place. Though they had one more win than the two teams above them, the Heroes trailed in winning percentage, .564 to .559. The winning percentage in the KBO is defined as wins divided by the sum of wins and losses, with ties excluded from the equation.

As the second seed, the Wiz will get a bye to the second round, which starts on Nov. 9. The Bears team will advance straight to the first round, set to start next Wednesday, and will face the winner of the Wild Card round.

The first of the possible two Wild Card games is Sunday between the Twins and the Heroes at the Twins' home, Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. The Twins will carry a built-in advantage of a victory and will only need a tie on Sunday to move on. If they lose Sunday, they'll get another crack at a win or a tie Monday.

LG Twins players watch their team in action against the SK Wyverns in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, on Oct. 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

The Heroes, though, must win two consecutive games. Since the Wild Card format was introduced in 2015, no fifth seed has advanced to the next stage. Only once has a fifth-seed even won a game -- the Tigers in 2016.

The Wild Card winner will advance to the best-of-three first round, which starts next Wednesday.

The series used to be a best-of-five but has been shortened this year. Following a delayed started to the regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic, the postseason is beginning in November for the first time in league history, and the KBO sought to crown the champion before December.

The second round will remain best-of-five, and the Korean Series is still best-of-seven.

The Dinos will make their second Korean Series appearance. In 2016, they were swept by the Bears in four straight games.

The top seed has won the Korean Series about 80 percent of the time.

KT Wiz players smile in the dugout during a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game against the Hanwha Eagles at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejon, 160 kilometers south of Seoul, on Oct. 30, 2020. (Yonhap)


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