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Week 2 KBO power rankings

Photo by Paul Muth.

Week one power rankings usually never mean anything. There's a reason that baseball plays over 100 games, and this past week the KBO did a great job of either introducing or simply reminding everyone of how chaotic the league is. Because of the lack of bullpen depth across the league, no lead is safe. It's not always fun for fans of the specific team that it happens to, but it makes for a more interesting game for the rest of us.

Last week we started to see teams settle into their identities. The Lotte Giants cooled off something fierce, while the Kia Tigers and LG Twins shook off their slow starts. Meanwhile, the NC Dinos have just been finding ways to win all along.

1. NC Dinos (10-1); previous week rank - 3

The Dinos are the toughest out in the KBO at the moment. The Dinos put together 3 extra innings wins in one week, which is more strain anyone's heart needs in that short amount of time. They're currently riding a 6 game win streak thanks in part to Sung Bum-Na's 3 home runs this week alone (one of which was the league's first walkoff Dino-Dinger). The Dinos have a tough start to the week against the defending champ Doosan Bears, but then it eases up against the Hanwha Eagles.

2. LG Twins (7-4); previous week rank - 5

The Twins started the week 2-3 and ended it 7-4, so you could say they figured some stuff out. Taking on the league-worst SK Wyverns is sure to do that for any team, but following that up with a series win against last year's Korean Series runner-up is a good sign that things are headed in the right direction. Nothing says KBO-ness more than their Tuesday victory, scoring 14 runs without a single home run. Starting pitcher Casey Kelly turned in a solid performance Saturday with 6 innings of 3 hit baseball. The Twins schedule looks pretty favorable as they match up with two sub .500 clubs this week (Lions and Wiz).

3. Doosan Bears (7-4); previous week rank - 4

The Bears are almost as exhausting to watch as the Dinos. They sport the league's best offense, but it's paired with the league's worst bullpen. They've yet to lose a series this season, but they also haven't swept anyone. First baseman Oh Jae-Il has been on a tear, batting .408 last week with 2 home runs and 10 RBIs. The Bears have an opportunity to gain some serious early season ground on the Dinos beginning tomorrow, before they finish the week against the unimpressive Lions.

4. Lotte Giants (7-4); previous week rank - 1

The Lotte Giants had nowhere to go but down last week, and that's exactly what they did. Dropping a series against the Bears is understandable, but to follow it up by dropping a series to the sub .500 eagles will get you dropped in the power rankings. Son Ah-seop was out of his mind at the plate last week batting .608 despite last week's 2-4 record. This week they'll look to get back on track against the Tigers and the Heroes.

5. Kiwoom Heroes (7-5); previous week rank - 2

Kiwoom found themselves in a similar situation as the Giants, taking a solid first week and squandering it. The offense just isn't really there at the moment, as evidence last Wednesday when they were shut out against the 9th place Lions. This week Kiwoom should be able to get back on track, with an easy series against a Wyverns team on a 9 game losing streak. They'll follow that up with a statement series against the Lotte Giants.

6. Kia Tigers (5-7); previous rank - 8

The Tigers made up some ground this week, due in large part to the bat of former Astro Preston Tucker. En route to a 13-4 victory against the Bears, Tucker went 4-4 with a home run and 7 RBIs. That's impressive at any level. Unfortunately, the rest of the offense has yet to catch up to Tucker's blistering pace, and they remain a sub .500 team. If they can take the series from the Giants to begin the week, the following series against the Wyverns could start some positive momentum to push them back into the win column.

7. Hanwha Eagles (5-7); previous rank - 7

The Eagles inexplicably finished last week with a solid series win against the Giants. They are the second worst offense in the league, and the fact that they've even won 5 games is pretty surprising. They have a fairly even match up to start the week against the KT Wiz, before they travel to take on the league leading NC Dinos later in the week.

8. KT Wiz (4-7); previous week - 9

The Wiz seem to be the most unlucky team so far to start the season. They're second in the league in runs scored, and still only have 4 wins to show. That's baseball for ya. That's the KBO for ya. They should be able to gain some ground early in the week against the Eagles, but we'll see if that gives them any momentum when they take on the LG Twins later on in the week.

9. Samsung Lions (4-8); previous week - 6

I don't think the Lions will be down here for that long. They're not very good at the moment, but they're not this bad. This week probably won't be the one that they make up any ground through, as they take on the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears. Maybe next week fellas.

10. SK Wyverns (1-10); previous rank - 10

Meet your 2019 Orioles. These guys are in for a long season.

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After rallying in the ninth inning in Game 1 to take the pivotal opener of this best-of-three ALWC series, the Astros were in the driver's seat to try and end the series on Wednesday with another win at Target Field. Here is a quick rundown of Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 3, Twins 1.

Series: HOU Wins 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier.

Losing Pitcher: Cody Stashak.

Houston gets the first hit and first run in the fourth

Through the first three innings, neither team could get a hit off of Jose Berrios or Jose Urquidy, though the Twins did load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and an error, but Urquidy would strand the runners before getting 1-2-3 innings in the second and third.

Meanwhile, the Astros lineup was retired in order in three perfect innings by Berrios. That changed in the top of the fourth when Houston would get back-to-back two-out walks to set up the first hit of the game, an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Dusty Baker makes another early call to the bullpen before Twins tie it up

Urquidy was able to keep the 1-0 lead by working around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, the first hit for the Twins. He returned in the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before a strikeout for the first out. Dusty Baker would pull another early hook, like Greinke the day prior, dipping into his bullpen early to end Urquidy's day at just 76 pitches in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 P.

Brooks Raley was who Baker called on to face the top of the Twins' lineup. He would walk his first batter, putting runners on first and second, get a strikeout for the second out, then allow an RBI-double to Nelson Cruz that almost scored a second, go-ahead run. Instead, the runner was out at home thanks to a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa, bulleting the ball to Maldonado at home, who made a great tag to save the run and keep it tied 1-1.

Correa homers, Astros advance to ALDS

After Raley completed the fifth inning for Urquidy, Cristian Javier was the next reliever out to begin the bottom of the sixth. He would toss a 1-2-3 frame, sending the tie game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa broke the tie with a long, loud two-out solo home run to center-field, putting the Astros back in front 2-1.

Javier held on to the one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh by working around a leadoff walk, then returned for the eighth. He would get through it scoreless, despite allowing a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, who would be pinch-ran for by the speedy Byron Buxton. After a strikeout for out number two, Javier would catch Buxton between first and second base in a rundown, getting the big final out of the inning.

Houston added insurance in the top of the ninth, getting two on base before an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, his second of the day to make it 3-1. That left things up to closer Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance of the postseason. He would notch the save, advancing the Astros to the ALDS for their fourth-straight year.

Up Next: The Astros will now have a few days off to travel to the west coast before starting their ALDS with the winner of the A's / White Sox ALWC series. Game 1 of their ALDS will be on Monday, October 5th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, with start time TBD.

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