Kia Tigers set to resume chase of wins record in Korean baseball

By Alex Park
  • Published : Jul 17, 2017 - 11:42
  • Updated : Jul 17, 2017 - 11:42

When the second half of the 2017 Korea Baseball Organization season begins Tuesday, the first-place Kia Tigers will resume their quest for a single-season record for victories.

The Tigers closed out the first half at 57-28, leading the NC Dinos by eight games. They need 37 wins in their remaining 59 games to establish a new record with 94 wins.

Last year, the Doosan Bears won 93 games to set the mark. The Bears had 55 wins, along with 27 losses and one tie, at the All-Star break at the time.

The Tigers have the winning percentage of .671 so far. They'll have to play at a .627 clip the rest of the way to break the current wins record.

The Tigers have been dominant on both ends of the ball. Their top two starters, Hector Noesi and Yang Hyeong-jong, have been a combined 27-3. Noesi has started the season 14-0, tying the record for the longest winning streak to begin a season.

Players of the Kia Tigers celebrate their 7-1 victory over the NC Dinos in their Korea Baseball Organization game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on July 13, 2017. (Yonhap)

On offense, outfielder Choi Hyoung-woo has emerged as an MVP front-runner, as the league leader in RBIs (81), doubles (24), total bases (210), walks (62), on-base percentage (.481) and slugging percentage (.689). Choi is ranked second in batting average (.374) and runs scored (72).

The Tigers as a team are batting a league-high .310. If they maintain that pace, they'd set the record for the highest team batting average in a season, surpassing the .302 mark set by the Samsung Lions in 2015. The Tigers are also top in the KBO in runs scored (587), hits (948) and total bases (1,475).

Among individual stars, SK Wyverns' slugger Choi Jeong is in pursuit of the single-season home run record.

He has blasted 31 homers in 82 games so far to lead the KBO. He's on pace for 54 home runs, which will leave him two shy of the record set by the Lions' Lee Seung-yuop in 2003, but Choi is more than capable of hitting them in a bunch.

He had a four-homer game on April 8, and went deep in four consecutive games in one stretch in June.

Only three players -- Lee, Park Byung-ho and Shim Jung-soo -- have hit more than 50 long balls in a season in the KBO. (Yonhap)