(ATTN: UPDATES with latest schedule change in para 6)
By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Oct. 4 (Yonhap) — Some October rain over the weekend dampened the exciting stretch drive in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), with both the conclusion of the regular season and the start of the playoffs likely pushed back by at least a couple of days.
The game between the NC Dinos and the KT Wiz in Suwon, some 35 kilometers south of Seoul, was rained out Monday, along with a game in the capital city between the Kia Tigers and the LG Twins.
The Tigers and the Twins both had an open date Tuesday, and so their canceled affair was simply pushed back by a day. But things weren’t so simple for the Dinos-Wiz game, because the Wiz had already been scheduled to play the Samsung Lions on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by two games against the Kia Tigers on Friday and Saturday.
The Wiz are off Thursday, but the Dinos have a game that day against the SSG Landers.
The Wiz have another game they have to make up, after their Sept. 16 game against the Twins was called off during the bottom of the third inning because of heavy downpours.
The regular season was supposed to wrap up by Saturday, but the Wiz will still have two games left to make up after that day. On Tuesday, the KBO announced the Wiz-Twins game from Sept. 16 will be played at 2 p.m. on Sunday, and the Dinos-Wiz game from Monday will be made up at 2 p.m. next Monday.
The KBO typically starts the postseason one or two days after the conclusion of the regular season. Barring additional rainouts, this means the postseason will begin as early as Oct. 12, though the KBO has not yet settled on the postseason schedule.
The KBO had earlier said any remaining regular season games with no postseason implications could be played after the start of the playoffs, on travel days when there is no postseason action.
However, both of the Wiz’s makeup games will have significant bearings on the postseason seeding. Through Monday, the Wiz were hanging on to third place, .002 point ahead of the Kiwoom Heroes in winning percentage. The Dinos are still alive in their pursuit of the fifth and final playoff spot, as they sit two games back of the Tigers through Monday, with both clubs having five games left.
Depending on how the Tigers and the Dinos perform the rest of this week, the Dinos-Wiz game could decide who grabs that last postseason ticket.
The KBO is hoping to crown the Korean Series champions by no later than the first weekend of November. The South Korean league is scheduled to host an All-Star team from Major League Baseball for four exhibition games later that month: on Nov. 11 and 12 in the southeastern city of Busan, and then Nov. 14 and 15 in Seoul.