After three weeks of crying, laughing and winning four consecutive gold medals, the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games baseball team is now back to being the enemy. After winning gold despite being labeled the ‘weakest team ever’, they must now return to their respective teams to help them in the fierce battle for third place at the end of the season. With less than 17 days left until the end of the regular season, the KBO is in the midst of the ‘third place war’ for a direct ticket to the semi-playoffs. The LG Twins have clinched the top spot in the regular season, while the second-place KT Wiz have a 3.5-game lead over the third-place NC Dinos with just two games remaining in the regular season. The third-place NC is only half a game ahead of the fourth-place Doosan Bears, while the fifth-place SSG Landers are a game behind the fourth-place Doosan with no wins.
The sixth-place KIA Tigers and seventh-place Lotte Giants are 3.5 and 6.5 games behind the postseason “cutoff” of fifth-place SSG, respectively .Arithmetically, there is still hope for fall baseball, but given their current form and remaining games, it’s actually a long shot to get on the postseason train: third place, which is directly into the semifinals, fourth place, which starts the wild-card game with one game in hand, and fifth place, which has never made the semifinals in the previous eight wild-card games. After the Asian Games, the baseball teams will return home via Incheon International Airport on Monday afternoon and rejoin their respective organizations. Their momentum will be a key factor in the final standings battle.
The team that could make the biggest short-term jump thanks to their returning talent is NC. Without starting shortstop Kim Joo-won, left-hander Seung-jo Kim Young-gyu, and backup catcher Kim Hyung-jun at the Asian Games, the team lost six straight games and dropped as low as fifth place at one point .Without starting catcher Park Se-hyuk, Kim Hyung-jun also went to the Asian Games, and Ahn Jung-yeol and Park Dae-on took turns at the plate, but struggled.NC was able to end the losing streak just two games after Park returned from injury. “When players (from the Asian Games) play early, we have to check their physical condition after they return,” said NC coach Kang Myung-ho. SSG returns its “center line” of shortstop Park Sung-hwan and center fielder Choi Ji-hoon.
However, Park’s replacement, veteran Kim Sung-hyun, has been batting .324 in his last 10 games, and Guillermo Heredia has filled in well in center field, leaving less of a void. The return of two of SSG’s top hitters gives the team a bit more roster flexibility. Doosan only sent one domestic ace, Kwak Bin, to the Asian Games. Even then, he ended the tournament without making a single live pitch due to injury. Fortunately, Kwak-bin’s health improved at the end of the tournament, so Doosan will take a closer look at him before deciding whether or not to send him back. The race for the top spot remains between the eighth-place Samsung Lions, ninth-place Hanwha Eagles, and 10th-place Kiwoom Heroes. Kiwoom is three games behind eighth-place Samsung and two games behind ninth-place Hanwha.
Samsung returns starting outfielder Kim Sung-yoon and infielder Kim Ji-chan, as well as Won Tae-in. Hanwha returns Moon Dong-ju, who made a dazzling comeback pitch in the final against Taiwan, but he’s already pitched past his limit and won’t be on the mound for the rest of the season .Instead, the return of Noh Si-hwan, who leads the league with 31 home runs, will be a big boost. Kiwoom will look to capitalize on the return of captain Kim Hye-sung and backup catcher Kim Dong-heon to escape the 카지노사이트 bottom of the standings.