SSG rings ‘lion’s share of red flags’… Will it avoid the NC that stymied Samsung two years ago?

먹튀검증The positions have changed from two years ago, but the venue is the same: one side is desperate for a win. The final matchup of the 2023 regular season between the Samsung Lions and the NC Dinos is full of interesting viewing points.

Samsung and NC will play Game 16 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at NC Park in Changwon on Friday. Samsung will send homegrown ace Won Tae-in and NC will start right-hander Young-gun Song Myung-ki.

Samsung sprinkled a lot of “chili powder” on the SSG Landers at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, Anbang, on April 14. Trailing 1-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, leadoff hitter Kim Ji-chan drew a walk to set the stage for a comeback, then Kim Sung-yoon singled to put runners on first and second. Koo Ja-rook flied out to center field, but Kang Min-ho, the fourth batter, and Ryu Ji-hyuk, the fifth batter, followed with back-to-back RBI singles. They tied the score at 3-3 and brought the game back to even.

With the momentum on their side, Samsung capitalized on an error by SSG that led to a bases-loaded walk. Foreign hitter Jose Pirela then hit a full-count sacrifice fly to center field against SSG veteran right-hander Noh Kyung-eun to tie the game at 4-3.

Samsung had runners on second and third in the top of the eighth inning, but turned to “stone cold” Oh Seung-hwan for a four-out save. Oh struck out pinch-hitter Choo Shin-soo on an infield grounder to preserve the one-run lead.

Samsung drove a wedge into the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with runners on first and second. Lee Sung-kyu hit a triple to right-center field to bring home Kim Hyun-joon, who was pinch-hitting for the first baseman, to make the score 5-3. Oh Seung-hwan shut down SSG’s last resistance in the top of the ninth inning to earn his 400th career save in the KBO.

With 61 wins, 81 losses, and one tie on the season with a 0.430 winning percentage after 14 games, Samsung is in eighth place and has been eliminated from the fall baseball season early. However, the team managed to pull off a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the final home game of the 2023 regular season against SSG to claim the title.

Samsung’s upset of SSG threw the final KBO 2023 regular season standings into even more chaos. SSG dropped from sole possession of third place to a tie for third with the NC Dinos and Doosan Bears.

With SSG with 74 wins, 65 losses, and three ties, and Doosan and NC with 74 wins, 65 losses, and two ties, the third through fifth places in the 2023 regular season will be decided in the Doosan-SSG and NC-KIA games on April 17, the final day of the remaining schedule.

SSG can’t hold onto third place on its own, even if it beats Doosan on April 16-17. Their loss to Samsung on the 14th will be crucial. NC, on the other hand, can still qualify for the semi-finals in third place if they win all three of their remaining games in the regular season thanks to Samsung catching SSG.

However, NC shouldn’t be too optimistic about their win over Samsung on Nov. 15. Not only are they 7-8 against Samsung this season, but Samsung’s Won Tae-in will be taking the mound after nine days of rest following their game against China at the Hangzhou Asian Games on June 6.

Samsung’s Won Tae-in has pitched one game and two scoreless innings in the NC this season. In his last game on Sept. 3, he threw fewer pitches than expected after the game was suspended for more than an hour due to rain. In 15 career games (14 starts) against NC since turning pro in 2019, he is 3-4 with a 2.90 ERA.

Coincidentally, NC swept Samsung in the final series of the regular season two years ago. Samsung played the final two games of the regular season against NC in Changwon on October 29-30, 2021.

Prior to the final series of the 2021 regular season with NC, Samsung was tied with KT Wiz with 75 wins, 58 losses and nine draws for a winning percentage of 0.564, but led the season head-to-head with 9 wins, 6 losses and 1 draw. On the other hand, NC, who won the overall title in the 2020 season, missed out on the postseason due to a number of setbacks.

Samsung was hit with the “dinosaur marker” on October 29, when it dropped games 1-3 to NC. KT’s loss to Kiwoom on the same day kept it in sole possession of first place but put it in the tiebreaker. Even if they beat NC on October 30, if KT beat SSG on the same day, they would have to play the tiebreaker, which has been in place since the beginning. The rule that the first-place teams in the regular season must play the deciding single-elimination game at the home stadium of the team with the better head-to-head record if they have the same winning percentage is new for the 2021 season.

Samsung actually beat NC 11-5 on Oct. 30, but KT beat SSG 8-3 on Oct. 31, forcing them to meet in the KBO’s first-ever tiebreaker. The result was a 0-1 loss, and Samsung ended the 2021 season in the playoffs, knocked out by Doosan. Samsung was left to rue its loss in the NC on October 29.

Two years later, on October 15, 2023, Samsung and NC were in different positions. NC has clinched a postseason berth, but is in desperate need of a win to start fall baseball in a higher position. Samsung has less pressure to win or lose, but they’re not willing to give it away.

If NC beats Samsung, they’ll have room to clinch third place on their own, but if Samsung peppers NC with peppers, they’ll find themselves in another hole in the 2023 regular season.

Samsung also took the final postseason bracket into their own hands in the 2019 season, when they finished eighth. In the regular season home finale against SK (SSG’s predecessor) on September 28, Lee Hak-joo’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning of extra innings gave Samsung a 9-7 victory and knocked SK from first to second place. In the aftermath of the loss, SK finished the season in second place and was swept in three straight games by Kiwoom in the playoffs.

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