The Hanwha Eagles and KT Wiz got into a wild matchup last night in South Korea. The Wiz were able to hold on for a 13-11 win after nearly blowing a 13-1 lead. Teams like to give the bottom of their bullpen some work in games like that, and here and there, you’ll see that it nearly backfires. The idea is to save the best arms for the next day, but it’s still a bit of a gamble sending out the bottom of the bullpen, even with a big lead. Blown games of that magnitude don’t happen as much in MLB, though when managers experiment with bad relievers, things can get interesting. The good news is that the Wiz held on for the win.
The KT Wiz moved up to 5-7 on the season with the terrific effort from the offense. It’s their fourth straight win after a slow start in 2020. It was a valiant try against the NC Dino five games ago, though they were edged out, 1-0. That was a close call and a solid effort by the Wiz despite the loss. Enough attempts like that on the bump and they’re going to be in fine shape this season. The Dinos are one of the best clubs in the KBO, so hanging in there and competing against them isn’t a bad sign. The Wiz were able to follow that tough loss up with four straight wins.
The Hanwha Eagles regressed to 5-8 on the season after that performance on Tuesday. They were winners by a score of 5-4 in dramatic fashion off a walk-off balk the game before on Sunday. After blowing a 4-0 lead, the Eagles were beneficiaries of a controversial call with a runner on 3rd and 2 outs. The balk sent the winning run home and the Eagles narrowly got by to win their fifth game of the season. The Eagles and Wiz are both likely going to mid-tier clubs that compete for a spot in the playoffs. It’s unlikely that either team is in championship form and ready to compete on that level yet.
The Eagles and Wiz will play the second game of their three-game series on Wednesday. The Wiz are expected to call on Bae Je-seong. He is coming off two excellent starts to open his 2020 campaign and looks to build on it Wednesday. As a 23-year-old, Bae has the potential to develop into an ace for the Wiz pitching staff for a long time. Jang Min-jae is expected to counter for the Eagles. He’s a 30-year-old veteran that has spent every year with the Eagles in the KBO since becoming a rookie in 2009. Jang is a serviceable pitcher that is looking to improve after a shaky 2019. Head below for our free Hanwha Eagles vs. KT Wiz pick for May 20, 2020 in the KBO.
Hanwha Eagles vs. KT Wiz KBO Baseball Odds:
Hanwha Eagles vs. KT Wiz Prediction:
The Hanwha Eagles have gotten pretty good production out of Jang Min-jae so far this season. In two outings he’s posted a 3.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 12 innings of work. However, Jang has a career ERA of 5.58 and 1.65 WHIP. His numbers were consistent with that last season, as he notched a 5.43 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 26 games. In his past five seasons, his best season was a tie in 2016 and 2018 with a 4.68 ERA so don’t get too excited.
Also note that Jang wasn’t at his best in a road start this year. He allowed 7 hits and 3 earned runs in 5 innings of work against Kiwoom on May 8 for a 5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. Jang was able to settle in at home against the Tigers, but now it’s back to the road against a dangerous Wiz offense.
The Wiz are 2nd in the KBO with a batting average of .323. They trail the Doosan Bears by a sliver, who own a .333 batting average at the dish. The Wiz are 1st in the KBO with 89 runs scored in 12 outings for an average of 7.4 runs per game. They should be able to give Jang some issues in this contest. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ offense is hitting just .261 with 49 runs scored for 3.7 runs scored per match. They will have to deal with Bae Je-seong on Wednesday.
Bae is off to a fast start, as he enters today with a 1.35 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in two outings. He’s coming off a flawless performance against the NC Dinos, as Bae held a dangerous Dinos in check for no runs across 7 innings of work. Bae left the contest with a 0.00 ERA and 1.14 WHIP against the 1st place Dinos. In his third season in 2019, Bae was solid with a 3.76 ERA in 28 outings. It seems like he could potentially be ready to take another leap forward. I’d side with the KT Wiz to get the win.