The battle for the top spot is starting to take shape. The LG Twins, SSG Landers, and Lotte Giants are leading the pack, while the Doosan Bears, NC Dinos, and KIA Tigers are chasing them. The Samsung Lions, Kiwoom Heroes, Hanwha Eagles, and KT Wiz are looking to rebound from the bottom.
LG was the first to reach the 30-win plateau. The team showed its dominance by winning all seven of its series except for a three-game weekend series against Doosan on May 5-7, when only one game was played due to rain cancellation. They bounced back from the humiliation of a three-game series sweep in Anbang last month with a win in Gwangju against KIA. The team is looking unstoppable with its perfect balance in the two-hitting department.
SSG only dropped a series against LG on 스포츠토토 April 23-25, but managed to hold on for the rest of the series, winning or tying the series. Lotte continues to fight for the top spot, as the upswing they started late last month has continued into this month.
In the middle of the pack, Doosan has maintained its 5 percent winning percentage in May (10 wins, 10 losses) after going 12-1-1 in April, while NC (8 wins, 10 losses) and KIA (8 wins, 11 losses) have built on their 5 percent-plus winning percentage in April.
At the bottom of the standings, Hanwha is the standout. After going 6-1-1 last month for a winning percentage of 0.261, Hanwha is now 10-2-9 in 21 games in May for a winning percentage of 0.526, which ranks fourth in monthly winning percentage. Samsung, on the other hand, which had a winning percentage of exactly 5% in April, is in last place with a 7-13 record this month.
In terms of wins, there is a clear top, middle, and bottom division. As of April 29, the first through third places are separated by two games, while third-place Lotte and fourth-place Doosan are separated by 4.5 games. The gap between fourth and sixth is 1.5 games. Sixth-place KIA and seventh-place Samsung are separated by two games, and seventh through 10th are separated by 2.5 games. The middle and bottom groups are not too far apart, while the top group seems to have settled down a bit.
It’s unclear if the current standings will hold through the first half of the season.
The KBO is about to enter a full-blown physical battle. From June, when the heat starts, to the first half break, the standings could change again depending on how the teams perform in the remaining 40 days. This is a time when the accumulation of stamina and fatigue in the heat can make the difference between victory and defeat. This is also when the differences in depth between teams become apparent. We’ve seen it happen every season: a team at the top of the standings falls because they can’t fill their roster spots, or a team languishing at the bottom of the standings rises on the strength of their depth. It could happen again this year. The fact that we’re still in a position where the standings could change depending on the outcome of the three-game series is another reason why we shouldn’t rest on our laurels.