The Doosan Bears, fresh off a devastating losing streak, and the NC Dinos, looking to secure at least fourth place, will meet in the final regular season game of the year. It’s only one game, but “one win” means a lot to both teams. It’s expected to be an all-out, postseason-like battle.
Doosan and NC will play Game 16 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday. Doosan will start Jang Won-jun and NC will start Lee Jae-hak. NC holds a slight edge over Doosan in the head-to-head series this season with an 8-7 record.
The mood ahead of the game is positive for NC. NC swept Hanwha in two straight games on the 9th and 10th of this month. They are tied for third place with SSG Landers with a 0.533 season winning percentage and can move into sole possession of third place with a win in the final regular season game against Doosan.
NC stumbled late last month, falling into an eight-game losing streak, but bounced back with back-to-back wins over Hanwha. Their momentum could have been dampened by losing the battle for second place to KT Wiz and falling into a three-way battle for third through fifth place, but it’s important to start fall baseball in the highest position possible. They have played one game less than SSG, so if they can beat Doosan, they can punch their ticket to the semi-playoffs on their own, depending on the outcome of the remaining four games of the regular season.
On the other hand, Doosan has lost two in a row, losing 4-5 to KT on the 10th and then getting swept by Lotte 3-14 on the 11th. They are now 1.5 games behind third-place NC and SSG. Doosan has six games left in the regular season, NC has five, and SSG has four, making it impossible for them to take over the third and fourth spots on their own.
If Doosan drops the final game of the regular season to NC, they will have to start the postseason in fifth place and play for the wild card. For now, it’s all about the sixth-place KIA Tigers, who have not given up hope for fall baseball and are trailing by two games.
NC is pinning its hopes on the bats of the hitters who have been strong for Jang Won-jun. Seo-ho, in particular, has been a nemesis against Jang Won-jun this season, going 6-for-8 with one home run. While his batting average has cooled off a bit this month, hitting just .200 (5-for-25), he’s likely to move up in the lineup and play a key role in the matchup given his head-to-head record. 메이저놀이터
Jang Won-jun’s “brother-in-law” Park Gun-woo has also been strong against him this year, going 2-for-4 with a double and two walks. Martin, a foreign hitter, hasn’t been bad either, going 2-for-7 with a double. In nine games in October, Martin is batting .323 (10-for-31) with one home run and eight RBIs, the best pace on the team.