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Week one KBO power rankings

Korean Baseball began their season last week. upload.wikimedia.org

Oh man, I didn't realize how much I missed Saturday baseball naps until I caught my first one of 2020. In May.

It's not because the KBO is boring, I just like my naps. In fact, week one was everything you could ask for to start off a baseball season (maybe with the exception of the 4:30 am start times, but beggars can't be choosers). We got late inning rallies and extra innings. We got walk offs and Grand Slams (which, in Korean, are referred to as "Grand Slams"). We got Boog Sciambi pointing out random knick-knacks in the background of his office to an un-amused Jessica Mendoza and if you watched via Twitch, you got those sweet sweet Korean commercials. If you like runs, the KBO's got runs. After 27 games, each match is averaging almost 11 runs per game.

I haven't even mentioned the bat flips. It's an art over there.

Week one is in the books, and I'm breaking down the entire league! Mainly because it's only ten teams.

1. Lotte Giants (5-0)

It's pronounced "loh-tay," by the way. However you say it, you're looking at an undefeated team that's averaging 7.2 runs per game. That's a pretty decent start considering that they finished last season with league-worst record of 48-93. There's still a lot of baseball to play, but at the moment they're one of only two remaining undefeated teams. Shortstop Dixon Machado stood out by batting .389 for the week to go with 3 homers and 8 RBIs, while former MLB pitcher Dan Straily has been brilliant with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.

2. Kiwoom Heroes (5-1)

The Heroes began the season ranked at the top of ESPN's preseason power rankings and have lived up to the hype through one week of play. Aside from a wild 8th inning meltdown against the Kia Tigers, the Heroes have jumped out to a solid start for the season. Outfielder Lee Jung-Hoo has been on a tear, with a .421 batting average and 6 RBIs.

3. NC Dinos (4-1)

The Dinos may be number three in this week's power rankings, but they will forever be number one in the mascot power rankings. They swept the Lions in the beginning of the week, but split the rain-shortened series with the Twins. The Dinos have four everyday players currently batting over .300. Shortstop No Jin-Hyuk has been their standout at the plate so far with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs and a .333 batting average.

4. Doosan Bears (3-2)

The defending champs started the season off with a thud, dropping game one to the Twins 8-2. The first week has been a mixed bag of prolific offense and blowout losses. They capped the week off with a wild 11-inning 13-12 walk off victory. Pitching looks like a concern through the first week, but they be able to might make up for it at the plate. Designated hitter Jose Miguel Fernandez has an unreal .591 batting average through 22 plate appearances, followed by shortstop Kim Jae-Ho who's batting .421 so far.

5. LG Twins (2-3)

It's still early, but the Twins have some pitching kinks that need to be ironed out. After holding the Bears to only 2 runs in their season opening victory, LG has surrendered 5 or more runs in every game since. They capped the week off by handing the Dinos their first loss of the season thanks to a massive 7-run rally in the 8th. First baseman Roberto Ramos has paced the Twins with 2 home runs and a .450 batting average.

6. Samsung Lions (2-4)

After getting swept by the Dinos to start the season, the Lions recovered and won the following series against the Kia Tigers. Their pitching seems to be pretty decent, but they're not getting any help from their bats. Designated hitter Kim Dong-Yeop is one of the lone bright spots, batting .320 with 2 homers.

7. Hanwha Eagles (2-4)

After shutting out the SK Wyverns in their season opener, the Eagles have failed to hold their opposition to less than 4 runs per game. They were projected to be the worst team this season, and by all indications they are on their way.

8. Kia Tigers (2-4)

The Kia Tigers weren't good last year (62-80), and don't look to be much different this year after week one. Astros fans may recognize Kyle Tucker's older brother Preston roaming the outfield and crushing it at the plate (.476 BA, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs). There isn't much offense beyond Tucker though, and the pitching hasn't shown up for them either. They did finish the week with a pretty solid 12-3 win against the Lions, but that was a day after being dropped 14-2.

9. KT Wiz (1-4)

Oof. After being swept by the undefeated Giants, the Wiz suffered a heartbreaking 12-13 loss to the Doosan Bears to close out the week. They have the youngest pitching staff in the league, which can be identified by the opposition averaging 7.8 runs/game.

10. SK Wyverns (1-4)

Offense seems to come a long pretty easy in the KBO, unless you're a Wyvern apparently. SK is the only team so far to have been shut out more than once. Don't expect much to turn around.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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