LG has a strong starting lineup and bullpen
Doosan has a solid starting lineup and strong bullpen
The LG Twins, who finished the first half of the regular season in first place, and the Doosan Bears, who went on a nine-game winning streak at the end of the first half, will attempt a miracle.
LG ended the first half in first place with 49 wins, two ties and 30 losses. LG has been at the top of the standings ever since it knocked SSG Landers out of second place and into the top spot on March 27. LG and SSG (46 wins, 1 draw, 32 losses) have 2.5 games in hand.
LG’s offense has been outstanding, leading the league in team batting average (0.285), team ERA (3.61), and team stolen bases (86).
Ace Adam Plutko has been one of the best pitchers in the league this year, posting an 11-1 record and a 2.21 ERA. He is second in wins, third in ERA, and first in winning percentage.
Chan-kyu Lim and Casey Kelly led the starting staff with six wins apiece.
The bullpen ace Ham Deok-ju, Park Myung-geun, Kim Jin-sung, Jung Woo-young, and Yoo Young-chan have made up for the lack of depth in LG’s starting rotation.
Hong Chang-ki (0.322), who leads the team in batting average, along with Moon Sung-joo, Austin Dean, Kim Hyun-soo, and Park Hae-min lead the LG offense.
Hong has a whopping .449 on-base percentage, while Kim is showing off his fixer-upper instincts with a .374 batting average in scoring position. With 57 RBIs, Austin Dean is on pace to lead the team in RBIs in his debut season. LG catcher Park Dong-won leads the offense with a whopping 15 home runs.
However, there are concerns.
Outside of Plutko and Lim Chan-kyu, the lack of reliable starters and bullpen attrition could prove to be a factor in the second half.
LG begins a three-game series against SSG at Jamsil Stadium on April 21.
Doosan advanced to the Korean Series for seven consecutive years from 2015 to 2021. During that time, they won three Korean Series titles.
However, last year, the team had to accept a ninth-place finish for the first time since its inception.
Doosan replaced its manager with Lee Seung-yeop. However, with a shaky batting lineup, Doosan’s path to “fall baseball” was not easy.
To make matters worse, the starting lineup was weak, with foreign pitcher Dylan Pyle unable to take the mound due to injury, and the lineup was always unstable.
Doosan fought to stay within striking distance of the five-win mark, but by the end of June, the team had slipped to sixth place and was in danger of falling to the bottom of the standings.
A resurgent Doosan rebounded in July, winning all nine of its matches to jump to third place. Doosan (42 wins, 1 draw, 36 losses) is now four games behind second-place SSG, putting pressure on the top clubs.
However, Doosan’s second half prospects remain unclear.
Ace Raul Alcantara (9-3 with a 2.03 ERA) and backup foreigner Brandon Waddell form the best one-two punch in the league, while Kwak Bin has been outstanding in his last five games with a 1.55 ERA. Foreign-born Jose Rojas is batting .444 this month.
However, Doosan has been plagued by poor performances from key hitters such as Kim Jae-hwan and Heo Kyung-min and a lack of cohesion at the plate all season.
Doosan will try to extend its franchise-record 10-game winning streak when it hosts 고스톱 the KIA Tigers at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju at 6:30 p.m. on May 21.