|Statistics retrieved from STATIZ.|
However, Kia has had one major flaw throughout the season: They play significantly worse on weekends.
This peculiar affliction affects both sides of the ball -- both Kia’s pitchers and batters perform worse on weekends. But the effect is most noticeable on the hitting side, with a precipitous drop in performance in games in the second series of the week, from Friday to Sunday, as opposed to the first series of the week, from Tuesday to Thursday.
The table below shows the batting splits for the top 10 Kia hitters by plate appearances, as well as the team, and clearly shows the distinction between weekday and weekend games. From Tuesday to Thursday, the Tigers hits like, well, the Tigers. But from Friday to Sunday, Kia’s cumulative batting line is comparable to that of the Lotte Giants or Samsung Lions, who are in seventh and eighth place, respectively.
However, on Friday to Sunday games, Kia is 24-26-1, a .471 winning percentage, or a 68-win pace. If Kia had a .471 winning percentage this season, they would slot in at eighth in the 10-team league between, guess who, Lotte and Samsung.
There are no obvious reasons for this drop-off. Kia’s schedule has been fairly balanced between weekday and weekend series, as they have faced good and bad teams alike. Other teams have some variation between weekday and weekend, but there is no trend toward weaker weekends, and especially none as severe as displayed by Kia.
However, as Kia is still well in control of the 2017 KBO standings, and performing well overall, this weekend drop-off stands as more of a curiosity than an actual problem. Perhaps it actually makes the team even scarier; despite running roughshod over the rest of the league, the Kia Tigers still have room to improve.
By Alex Park / Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)