Defending champions meet teams looking to keep their PS hopes alive…’2nd’ KT, ‘6th’ KIA in fateful 4-game series

A four-game series pits a team looking to stay in second place against a team looking to keep their fall baseball hopes alive.

The KT Wiz and KIA Tigers will play the 13th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on March 3. Following a doubleheader the next day, they will meet once more on the 5th. This is the last meeting between the two teams this season.

KT is in second place with 74 wins, three draws, and 59 losses. The gap between them and the third-place NC Dinos (70 wins, 2 draws, 60 losses) is 2.5 games. The second place position is not yet secure. KIA’s five-game winning streak collapsed this past weekend with a second straight overtime loss to the Incheon SSG Landers. They are in sixth place with 64 wins, two draws and 65 losses. They are 2.5 games behind fifth-place SSG (67 wins, 3 draws, 63 losses).

This season, KT has been weak against KIA. In 12 games, they have four wins, eight losses and a winning percentage of 0.333. It has the lowest winning percentage against nine clubs. However, in their most recent meeting, a three-game series in Gwangju from Sept. 22-24, KT turned things around with a sweep.

KT’s starting pitcher for Game 3 is Ko Young-pyo. In 27 games (26 starts) this season, Ko has a 12-7 record, 169⅔ innings pitched, 56 runs (53 earned) allowed, 28 walks, 111 strikeouts, a 2.81 ERA, and a 1.16 WHIP. Against the KIA, however, he was not as fortunate. In four appearances, he allowed eight runs (six earned) in 23 innings with six walks and 12 strikeouts for a 2.35 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

This will be Ko’s first start since September 24 against the Gwangju KIA. On that occasion, he pitched seven innings without allowing a run on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He came off the mound to face the defense in the bottom of the eighth inning with a 1-0 lead. Then, with runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth, Son Dong-hyun’s bomb tied the game at 1-1. However, KT secured the win thanks to a two-run homer by Park Kyung-soo in the top of the ninth.

In 25 games this season, KIA starter Lee Yi-ri is 11-7 with a 4.20 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 60 runs (54 earned) in 115⅔ innings, 89 strikeouts and 136 walks. In three starts against KT, Lee has been strong, going 2-0 with 14 innings pitched, three runs (three earned), nine walks, 24 strikeouts, a 1.93 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.스포츠토토

Lee struggled against the Hanwha Eagles in Daejeon on Sept. 21, allowing five runs (four earned) in 1 1/3 innings, but bounced back with a perfect game against the Changwon NC on Sept. 27, allowing no runs on three hits and one walk while striking out three in seven innings. It was his first game over five innings since September.

KT, which needs to defend its second-place position, meets KIA, which wants to keep its postseason hopes alive. Meanwhile, in Incheon, fifth-ranked SSG will face third-ranked NC. All eyes will be on the outcome of these four teams, who are battling for position. In addition, LG, who are not playing today, will clinch the regular season title if both KT and NC lose. They will punch their ticket to their first Korean Series since 2002.

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