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Rival right-handers to face each other to open S. Korean baseball championship series

Raul Alcantara of the Doosan Bears pitches against the KT Wiz in Game 3 of the Korea Baseball Organization second-round postseason series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul last Thursday. (Yonhap)
Raul Alcantara of the Doosan Bears pitches against the KT Wiz in Game 3 of the Korea Baseball Organization second-round postseason series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul last Thursday. (Yonhap)
Two right-handers will renew their regular season rivalry to open the South Korean baseball championship series on Tuesday.

The NC Dinos and the Doosan Bears, two contestants of the Korean Series, each announced their Game 1 starters at Monday's media day.

Right-hander Drew Rucinski will take the mound for the Dinos, the regular season champions who earned a bye to the Korean Series.

The Bears will counter with right-hander Raul Alcantara. They finished third in the regular season and had to win two rounds in the postseason to reach their record-tying sixth consecutive Korean Series.

Alcantara led all pitchers in the regular season with 20 wins, and Rucinski finished right behind him with 19 wins. Both will be making their Korean Series debuts.

Rucinski finished at 19-5 with a 3.05 ERA, and had a 1-1 record and a 3.50 ERA in three starts against the Bears. He recorded 16 strikeouts in 18 innings against them.

Shortstop Kim Jae-ho and first baseman Oh Jae-il each had a home run against Rucinski. But Oh was dismal in the previous round against the KT Wiz, as he batted only 1-for-15 with six strikeouts and got moved down from third to eighth in the lineup.

Alcantara, who lost just two games all year while posting a 2.54 ERA, was 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in four starts versus the Dinos.

He struck out 17 in 27 1/3 innings, but he also served up four home runs, more than against any other opponent this year.

Outfielder Kwon Hui-dong had Alcantara's number. He batted 6-for-12 with two homers. Outfielder Aaron Altherr and catcher Yang Eui-ji, both 30-homer sluggers, each homered off Alcantara. Leadoff Lee Myung-ki had four hits in nine at-bats against Alcantara.

This will be Alcantara's third postseason outing, and he has yet to flash the type of dominance that made him the KBO's only 20-game winner in the regular season.

In Game 2 of the first round against the LG Twins on Nov. 5, Alcantara was charged with four earned runs on six hits, including three homers, in 4 1/3 innings. It was later revealed that he'd pitched with a stiff neck,

Last Thursday, Alcantara started Game 3 of the penultimate round against the Wiz and took the loss after allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings.

The Dinos are trying to win their first Korean Series. The Bears are the defending champions chasing their fourth title in six seasons. (Yonhap)
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