The Hanwha Eagles and NC Dinos will battle for the first time this weekend in Changwon at NC Park. The Dinos are coming off an elite matchup against the Doosan Bears on the road. They took two of three games from a good Bears team. It was an electric 9th inning, with the Dinos scoring 9 runs after just scoring 3 runs throughout the first 8 innings.
The Dinos went into the final frame with a 4-3 deficit and exited the half inning with a 12-4 lead. The KBO can get a bit wild at times, especially late in games when outcomes are decided by shaky bullpens. If you started watching the CPBL in Taiwan and transitioned over to the KBO, no the bullpens aren’t that bad, but you’ll see flare ups often in South Korea as well.
The Dinos have sailed above the competition so far this season. They’re off to an impressive start with a record of 12-2. The next closest clubs, the LG Twins and Kiwoom Heroes, both have just 9 wins. Going on the road and beating a quality Bears squad two out of three games was a pretty impressive feat. We’ll see if they can keep this hot run going, but even if they don’t this weekend, the Dinos are still going to be a team that others will have to worry about in 2020.
They are searching for their first Korean Series after debuting in 2013. Such a quick turnaround from inception to a championship would be quite the accomplishment. The Dinos are on a good path right now, though there’s a lot of baseball left to be played. For the Eagles, they’re looking at a record of 6-9 going into Friday after a 9-4 win over the KT Wiz on Thursday. They were losers in two of three games on the road, so needed that victory to avoid a sweep.
The Eagles will send out Australian Warwick Saupold for his fourth start of 2020 on Friday. He’s a sophomore in South Korea after a promising debut as a first-time player in 2019. Saupold has gotten off to a fast start this season as well. However, Saupold has a tough assignment on the road against the Dinos at NC Park today, though. He will be countered by Kim Young-gyu of the Dinos in this matchup. Kim has had a nice start in 2020, too. Head below for our free Hanwha Eagles vs. NC Dinos pick for May 22, 2020 in the KBO.
Hanwha Eagles vs. NC Dinos KBO Baseball Betting Odds:
Hanwha Eagles vs. NC Dinos Prediction:
Saupold has done everything asked of him this season, and performed well in his first effort in the KBO last season. After flaming out in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers, Saupold had to look elsewhere to continue playing baseball. The native of Australia posted a 4.98 ERA and 1.58 WHIP with the Tigers from between 2016 to 2018. All things considered, that’s not terrible for a guy going from the majors to the KBO. Naturally, Saupold saw a bump in his numbers in the KBO, with a 3.51 ERA and 1.27 WHIP as a rookie in South Korea.
So far it’s been a golden start for Saupold in 2020. He heads into Friday with a 1.64 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in three starts. In his most recent trip to NC Park, Saupold held the Dinos to no runs across 7 innings of work for a 0.00 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Going back to last season, it has been nine games since Saupold has an ERA that has eclipsed past 3.00. He should be able to take advantage of a Dinos team who might be feeling a bit road weary after the bus trip home from Seoul.
If the Dinos’ offense has a slow game, they still have a good chance of winning with Kim Young-gyu getting the call on the bump for the Dinos. In two outings this season, Kim has looked better than he did as a rookie in 2019. He boasts an ERA of 3.27 and 1.09 WHIP in 11 innings of work. Kim is coming off a strong performance against the Wyverns on the road, as he surrendered just 1 earned run across 6 innings for a 1.50 ERA and 0.67 WHIP. The Dinos have the top pitching staff in the KBO with an ERA of 3.38 in 14 games. The Eagles are hitting just .263 for 7th. We should have a low-scoring matchup for this meeting between the Eagles and Dinos on Friday at NC Park.