It was another strong week for the teams at the top of the KBO, with the Dinos, Bears and Heroes each coming away with five wins. It was a week filled with a disproportionate amount of sweeps, as well; of the ten series played, five of them ended with one team winning all three games played. This worked out well for many teams, as only three teams had a losing record for the week, but the teams that fell did so with vigor. Most notably, the Eagles failed to win a single game for the second week in a row, and the Wiz, who have seemed to be underperforming all year, continued to occupy the loss column without any real show that they’ll be able to turn things around for the better. Here’s our full rankings after week five. (Note: No team moved up or down in the rankings from week four)
1. NC Dinos
23-6 Record, 5-1 Week Five
At this point, it’s more a question of what the Dinos can’t do than what they can. Through 29 games, the Dinos have a four game lead on any other team in the league, along with a win percentage of almost .800. They have both the most runs scored and the fewest runs allowed, with a run differential over twice as high as any other team. These stats seem to grow more astounding every week, but the Dinos will run the gauntlet against the Bears and Heroes, though both at home, in the week ahead.
2. LG Twins
18-11 Record, 2-4 Week Five
While the Twins struggled a bit more in week five, winning just one game from each of two series against the Lions and Heroes, they look just as well-off as a week ago: they maintain a strong combination of pitching and offense, with the third-best team ERA and fifth most runs scored (just four runs behind second place) that’s hard to find from many other teams in the league. The Twins appear to remain unshaken, and will match up with the Wyverns and Giants in week six.
3. Kiwoom Heroes
17-13 Record, 5-1 Week Five
After appearing to stall out a bit, the Heroes posted a strong performance in week five, winning five games and pushing themselves back into the throng of teams competing for second. Currently in fourth place overall, the Heroes have the league’s third most runs scored and fourth best team ERA, good for the third-highest run differential. The Heroes will look for more consistency moving forward, but right now appear to be squarely among the teams in contention for the playoffs. They’ll match up with the Lions and Dinos in week six.
4. Doosan Bears
19-10 Record, 5-1 Week Five
The argument could be made that, sitting in second place, the Bears deserve to be higher on the list. Still, their run differential of +1 hardly screams that they’re earning their wins any more than getting pretty lucky at this point, and they’ve hardly impressed any more than any of the three teams above them. The team’s pitching did fare better in week five, and they’ll need that success to carry forward. They’ll meet a dichotomous schedule in week six, facing the league-best Dinos and then the league-worst Eagles.
5. KIA Tigers
15-15 Record, 3-3 Week Five
After a surge in week three, the Tigers have epitomized a .500 winning percentage, and it’s all they’ve needed so far. Sweeping the Giants and then getting swept by the Bears in week five, the Tigers worked to reinforce their position above and below those teams, respectively. Facing the Wiz and Wyverns in the week to come, they’ll hope to start building wins once again.
6. KT Wiz
11-18 Record, 1-5 Week Five
Maybe the Wiz are proving that we’re suckers for run differential. That’s entirely possible. Still, even when returning to a negative run differential in week five, they have a differential of just -1, making it difficult to really argue that this team is down and out. Again, they need to get in the win column to avoid sliding further, but they’re really not winning much more than any team below them. They have another set of opportunities to start winning against the Tigers, followed by the Lions, in week six.
7. Samsung Lions
13-17 Record, 3-3 Week Five
The Lions are the first of the next three teams in a row (and four total) that all went 3-3 in the last week. There’s not much to say about them at this point: their offense and pitching are both squarely in the middle of the league (sixth and fifth, respectively), but being on the lower end of the offensive spectrum their run differential is an unimpressive -13. Still, they’re creeping up the leaderboards with a winning record over the last two weeks collectively, and even maintaining a .500 pace they can overcome the Wiz. They’ll match up with the Heroes before playing the Wiz in week six.
8. Lotte Giants
14-15 Record, 3-3 Week Five
The Giants also came away from week five with an even split of wins and losses on the week, and while they’re still flirting with a .500 record, things hardly seem to be looking up for Lotte. With the league’s second-lowest scoring offense and just seventh-best team ERA, the Giants have a run differential of -29 overall. They face the Eagles and Twins in the week ahead.
9. SK Wyverns
10-19 Record, 3-3 Week Five
With an even split of week five, the Wyverns have a winning record over the last two weeks. Perhaps more impressive, though, is that their poor start has now been overshadowed by an even worse stretch from the Eagles. While the Wyverns still sport a -39 run differential, they’ve shown some life, propelled by strides from the pitching staff. They’ll hope to keep building in week six against the Twins and Tigers.
10. Hanhwa Eagles
7-23 Record, 0-6 Week Five
The Eagles suffered consecutive sweeps in week four, dropping to the bottom of the rankings before coming back in week five to avenge those losses with… six more losses. There’s really not much more to say beyond pointing out that the Eagles are currently riding a 14 game losing streak, propelling them to the league’s worst record, lowest runs scored total, and worst team ERA. They’ll look to finally end this against the Giants and Bears in week six.
Series to watch in week six
Bears @ Dinos: Opening the week we have a matchup between the teams currently in first and second place in the standings. Both coming off of five wins in week five, this game will be an important source of momentum moving into the heart of the season.
Tigers @ Wiz: A series between two teams who have sat just below the thick of the playoff race so far, and who have found success in two different ways, with the Wiz riding a strong offense and the Tigers relying more on their pitching.
Heroes @ Dinos: After a week against the league’s worst two teams, the Dinos will now run the gauntlet in week six. They’ll face the fourth-place Heroes, who have flashed some excellence but lacked consistency, to close out the week after sweeping them in week four.