SEOUL, - The KT Wiz and the NC Dinos, two of the youngest franchises in South Korean baseball and recent champions, are set to clash in the postseason for the first time next week. The best-of-five second round will determine who advances to the Korean Series to face the LG Twins.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, the Dinos captured their first Korean Series title in 2020, seven years after their inception. The Wiz, which became the 10th KBO team in 2015, secured their first championship in 2021. As the No. 2 seed, the Wiz received a bye to this round and will have home field advantage over the fourth-seed Dinos.
To reach this series, the Dinos defeated No. 5 seed Doosan Bears in the wild card game and swept the third-seed and defending champions SSG Landers in the best-of-three first round.
The first two games will be played at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, just south of Seoul, with the first pitch at 6:30 p.m. The third and potential fourth games will occur at Changwon NC Park in Changwon, also starting at 6:30 p.m. Should the series require a fifth game, it will be back in Suwon at 2 p.m. on Nov. 5.
Concerns about "rest vs. rust" loom for the Wiz, who played their last regular season game on Oct. 10. However, the break provided much-needed recovery time for injured players, including starters Ko Young-pyo and Wes Benjamin. Um Sang-back, a swingman for the Wiz, has also returned from broken ribs sustained in August. Unfortunately, Wiz slugger Kang Baek-ho suffered a torn oblique muscle during an intrasquad scrimmage and has been ruled out for the remainder of the postseason.
The Dinos, having played four postseason games between Oct. 19 and Oct. 25, will have four days of rest before facing the Wiz. Their relievers have shouldered much of the load, with setup men Kim Young-kyu and Ryu Jin-wook, and closer Lee Yong-chan appearing in all four postseason games. Top starter Erick Fedde is expected to take the mound in Game 1, after missing previous games due to a right forearm injury.
During the regular season, the Wiz won 10 of their 16 games against the Dinos and outscored them 78-63. However, Dinos hitters such as Son Ah-seop and Park Min-woo have posted strong numbers against Wiz pitching. Similarly, Wiz outfielders Anthony Alford and Moon Sang-chul have been particularly effective against the Dinos, as have bullpen stalwarts Son Dong-hyun, Park Yeong-hyun, and Kim Jae-yoon.