2018 Korean Series
The 2018 Korean Series started on November 4. It was the 36th Korean Series. The SK Wyverns won their first title in eight years, topping the Doosan Bears. Trey Hillman became the first manager to win both a Japan Series and Korean Series.
The Doosan Bears, managed by Tae-hyeong Kim, made their 4th straight Series, having won in 2015 and 2016 before falling in 2017. They were 93-51-51 to finish first in the 2018 KBO by 14 1/2 games. They led the league in offense (944 R, .309/.376/.486 team batting line) and defense (68 E) while their 4.98 ERA was 3rd; they gave up 756 runs, the second-fewest. Eui-ji Yang (.358/.427/.585) was second in the batting race, Jae-hwan Kim (.334/.405/.657) led in homers (44) and RBI (133) and Joo-hwan Choi (.333/.397/.582, 39 2B, 26 HR, 108 RBI) was another key contributor at the plate. The pitching staff featured ERA leader Josh Lindblom (15-4, 2.88), win leader Seth Frankoff (18-3, 3.74) and Yong-chan Lee (15-3, 3.63); they ranked 1-2-3 in wins and Lee and Frankoff were 4th and 5th in ERA. Deok-ju Ham (6-3, 27 Sv, 2.96) finished 3rd in the KBO in saves, while Seung-hye Kim (3-4, 3 Sv, 3.46) and Chi-guk Park (1-5, 3 Sv, 3.63) were other reliable relievers.
A dominant team a decade prior, the Wyverns made their first Series appearance in six years, led by skipper Trey Hillman, the first foreigner to guide a team to the Series. Their 829 runs were third, while their 4.67 ERA led the league. They went 78-65-3 and then beat the Nexen Heroes 3 games to 2 in the playoffs. Jamie Romak (.316/.404/.597, 43 HR, 102 R, 107 RBI) was one shy of the home run title, while Dong-min Han (.284/.367/.601, 115 RBI) also topped 40 dingers, with 41; Jae-won Lee hit .329/.405/.514. Kwang-hyun Kim (11-8, 2.98) was their top starter while Jong-hun Park (14-8, 4.18) finished 4th in the KBO in wins and Jae-woong Shim was 2-3 with 16 saves and a 2.77 ERA.
- November 4: Wyverns 7, Bears 3. The Wyverns got 4 2/3 shutout innings of relief for a game one upset at Jamsil Stadium. Jung-kwon Park, the 2010 Korean Series MVP who had spent time in the minors this year, homered and drove in 3. Angel Sanchez got the win, Lindblom the loss. In a losing cause, CF Soo-bin Jung rapped three hits.
- November 5: Bears 7, Wyverns 3. Frankoff pitched a fine game, striking out 10, to beat Seung-won Moon and the Wyverns. Joo-hwan Choi hit a two-run homer for the Bears, while Kang-min Kim had all 3 RBI for SK.
- November 7: Wyverns 7, Bears 2. Romak hits a 3-run homer in the first off Yong-chan Lee and adds a solo shot later, while Jae-won Lee hits a two-run homer for the SK slugging attack. Merrill Kelly allows only two unearned runs in seven.
- November 9: Bears 2, Wyverns 1. After a rain-out yesterday, Lindblom tosses a gem, fanning ten and allowing one run in seven. Kwang-hyun Kim was even better, though, blanking Doosan for six. Sanchez tossed a scoreless 7th but gave up a two-run homer to Soo-bin Jung in the 8th to give Doosan the comeback win. Ham pitched two shutout innings to save it for Lindblom.
- November 10: Wyverns 4, Bears 1. Doosan went ahead in the 3rd when Jin-ho Jung homered off Jong-hoon Park; Jung had hit two homers in the regular season. Frankoff, meanwhile, fanning nine in 6 1/3 IP and would not allow a run in the first six. In the 7th, SK's Sung-hyun Kim hit a double to score a pinch-runner, then took third on a bad relay from Jin-ho Jung in the outfield. Young-ha Lee relieved and allowed a sacrifice fly to Kang-min Kim to put SK ahead. In the 8th, Jeong Choi's pop fly was blown hard by the mind and was dropped by 3B Kyoung-min Hur; Choi took second on the error, then Jung-kwon Park singled him in. A walk and single followed, then Sung-hyun Kim drew a bases-loaded walk from Seung-bye Kim after falling behind 0-2 on the count. Tae-hoom Kim got the win and Young-il Jung the save.
- November 12: Wyverns 5, Bears 4. SK went ahead 3-0 going into the 6th but Kelly tired then and gave up three runs. Doosan took a 4-3 lead in the 8th. The Bears turned to ace Lindblom to try to close it out but Jung Choi took him deep to tie it. Han homered off Hee-kwan Yoo (the 8th of 9 Doosan pitchers today) in the top of the 13th for the winning hit. SK then turned to their ace to close it and Kwang-hyun Kim succeeded. Former Series MVP Eui-ji Yang drove in 3 for Doosan. Seung-won Moon got the win. Han was named Series MVP; he was 4 for 21 but with 2 homers, including the big one.
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