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The Weaknesses of Korean Baseball`s `Big 3`

Posted August. 12, 2010 08:50,   


The Incheon SK Wyverns, Daegu Samsung Lions and Seoul Doosan Bears will probably comprise three of the four teams to participate in this fall’s pro baseball playoffs.

Third-place Doosan was ahead of the fourth-place Busan Lotte Giants by 10 games as of Wednesday. Given recent developments, the Bears are expected to further widen their lead.

The gap between the third and fourth-place teams was the widest in 1982, when the league was founded. Back then, the third-place MBC Blue Dragons (now the LG Twins) led the fourth-place Haitai Tigers (now the Kia Tigers) by eight games.

SK, Samsung and Doosan have led the league since early this season. Nevertheless, they are far from relaxed in their quest to make the playoffs and win the Korean Series.

League leader SK went 4-2 last week to broaden its advantage over second-place Samsung to six games, but is still being chased. The Wyverns had led by as many as 11 games until early last month.

SK is just 6-6 in the second half of the season as its hitting has notably deteriorated from the first half.

The Wyverns’ batting average with runners in scoring position declined from .289 in the season’s first half to .240 in the second, the lowest among the league’s eight teams. SK is pinning its hopes on slugger Park Jung-kwon, who has recovered from an ankle injury.

Samsung has gone 7-4 in the second half but has had problems with its starting pitchers. The team is 43-0 when leading after the fifth inning thanks to its powerful relief pitchers including Jung Hyun-wook, An Ji-man and Kwon Hyuk.

The team is on shaky ground, however, because of its lack of solid starting pitchers except Jang Won-sam and Cha Woo-chan. Yun Sung-hwan, who last year tied for the league lead in wins with 14, is just 3-4 this season.

Bae Young-soo (5-6) and Francisco Cruceta (6-10) have yet to win a game in the second half of the season.