Two games to none and a cliffhanger Game 5. KT Wiz and NC Dinos will meet on a wooden bridge for a ticket to the Korean Series.
KT and NC will play Game 5 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason Playoffs (best-of-5) at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, at 2 p.m. on May 5.
The series has come down to the fifth game as NC has won six straight games since the wild-card deciding game, but has lost two straight at home. Which team has the advantage?
KT will be starting Wes Benjamin and NC will be starting Shin Min-hyuk. It’s a tough matchup to call. Benjamin’s 15 wins in the regular season might give him the edge, but this fall, Shin Min-hyuk pitched 6⅓ innings of scoreless relief in the second game of the series on May 31 to earn the win over Benjamin (5 innings, 3 runs, loss).굿모닝토토 도메인
If statistics are any indication of who will advance to the Korean Series, there have been 13 best-of-five series in the history of the PO (30).
In this case, KT has a reason to smile. The probability of the top team in the regular season advancing to the Korean Series in a two-game series was 61.5% (8/13). Perhaps the team with the most reserves has an advantage in similar conditions.
Even with the same 2-2 tie, the team that won Game 4 was able to take Game 5 69.2% of the time (9/13). KT lost two straight at home, but managed to even the series with two wins on the road. This is a good sign for KT.
However, it’s not necessarily a case of KT being favored. There have been five instances in the history of the POs where both teams have alternated two straight wins.
In two of those cases, the team that lost the first two games won three straight. In 1996, the Hyundai Unicorns (4th place) won three straight games against the Ssangbangul Raiders (2nd place) and in 2009, the SK Wyverns (2nd place) won three straight games against the Doosan Bears (3rd place) to advance to the Korean Series.
There have been three other occasions when a team has won two in a row and then lost back-to-back games. In 1993, the Samsung Lions (2nd) defeated the LG Twins (4th), in 1997, LG (2nd) defeated Samsung (4th), and in 2018, SK (2nd) defeated the Nexen Heroes (4th) to reach the finals with a “win, lose, win” record.
As the youngest two teams, they don’t have the richest fall experience, but both have been in a two-win, two-loss situation in fall baseball before. KT entered the fall baseball last year in fourth place and has painful memories of losing a best-of-five game against Kiwoom (third place) in the semi-finals.
In 2015, NC finished second and faced Doosan (third) in the PO, losing after a W-L-D, and in 2017, the team finished fourth and faced Lotte Giants (third) in the Semi-Po, winning after a W-L-D to advance to the PO.
However, the bigger variable is the weather. Rain is forecast for the entire country. It is expected to rain heavily in the morning near KT Wiz Park, where the game will be played. It’s expected to let up around 3 p.m., when the game is scheduled to start at noon, but it’s unclear if the grounds will be able to be repaired from the earlier rain. It’s also expected to start raining again after 4 p.m., so it’s unclear if the game will go ahead as scheduled.
NC has played eight games since the wild card round. Even with two days off after the wild card game and four days off after three consecutive semi-playoff wins, fatigue is bound to set in after a season-long battle for position and an intense fall baseball schedule.
That’s why the rainout was so welcome. Moreover, NC could benefit from an extra day of rest, as it’s not easy for starter Eric Peddy to pitch Game 5. It could also be a good opportunity for the team to rebuild its momentum after winning Games 1 and 2 on the road to extend its winning streak to six games this fall, but then dropping two straight at home.
KT could get a quick win at home and then face LG in the Korean Series. However, KT may be waiting for the rain to be canceled, as they came out firing on all cylinders after two straight losses.