The KBO is entering its final stretch, and the Kia Tigers are the center of the storm. Their recent eight-game winning streak has propelled them past the top-five finish line and into a position to threaten the top teams. It’s not just the results, but also the process. The KBO’s all-time wins leader Eric Peddy (NC Dinos), national ace Ko Young-pyo (KT Wiz), and Rookie of the Year candidate Moon Dong-ju (Hanwha Eagles) have all been sacrificed. The batting lineup is unstoppable and the bullpen is focused. They literally took the game by storm. In the KIA dugout, it’s not hard to find stories, laughter, and a sense of relaxation among the players that they’re not going to lose, even when they’re down by one or two runs.
However, even in this atmosphere, KIA head coach Kim Jong-guk is cautious. “I always say it, but the September rankings don’t mean anything. We need to accumulate as many wins as possible while we still can.”메이저사이트
Looking at the standings, it is clear that KIA is not in a position to rest easy.
KIA is in fourth place after four days, but they have the same winning percentage as fifth-place NC. This is due to the fact that NC has played two more games. Depending on the outcome of Game 1, they could swap places with NC at any moment. They are only 1.5 games behind third-place SSG Landers, who have lost four straight games, but their win-loss streak could change at any moment. KIA has 36 games remaining, the most of any of the 10 teams, but the tight schedule could prove to be a poisonous combination of fatigue and poor performance. Adding to the pressure is the fact that most of the remaining games are against teams in the top half of the standings or fighting for position, including the LG Twins (6 games), KT (7 games), SSG (3 games), NC (4 games), and Doosan Bears (5 games). Coach Kim is fully aware of this.
So where does KIA see a crossroads? “Personally, I think the battle for the top spot will continue until the Asian Games. I think it will be decided when we have a few games left (in October and below), but I don’t think it will be decided before then,” Kim said.
The upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games is an important variable in the rankings battle. Most of the players selected in the Under-24 and Wild Card categories are key resources for their respective teams. KIA will be missing three starters, including Lee Yi-ri, left-hander Choi Seung-jo and outfielder Choi Won-jun. With a grueling schedule, it could be a tight race all the way down to the wire. That’s why the winning streaking KIA is bound to show more teeth than smiles.