The 2023 regular season in South Korean baseball wrapped up Tuesday, with the playoff brackets finally set after all 10 clubs completed their 144-game schedule.
The final postseason spot up for grabs in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) was the No. 3 seed, and the defending champions SSG Landers claimed it with a 5-0 victory over the Doosan Bears on Tuesday.
The NC Dinos, who were holding down the No. 3 spot Sunday, dropped their final two regular season games to end up in fourth place. They fell to the Kia Tigers 7-1 on Tuesday, but they would still have finished in fourth place with a win because the Landers also won their game.
The LG Twins clinched the best record in the regular season on Oct. 3, and the KT Wiz secured No. 2 seed a week later. The Twins advanced straight to the Korean Series, while the Wiz earned a bye to the penultimate round.
The fourth-seed Dinos and the fifth-seed Bears will meet in the wild card round beginning Thursday at the Dinos home of Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. As the higher seed, the Dinos will have two cracks at getting a tie or a win to advance to the next round, where the No. 3 seed Landers will be waiting. The Bears must win two straight games, both on the road, to reach the next stage.
No fifth seed made it out of the wild card stage since the extra round was added in 2015. But the Bears will have two of their best starters lined up, with Gwak Been going in Game 1, and Brandon Waddell locked and loaded for Game 2, if necessary.
The Dinos, on the other hand, won't have their best starter, Erick Fedde, available for Thursday because he pitched Monday, when the Dinos were trying to lock down the third seed.