The Kia Tigers are in Changwon at NC Park for a Thursday meeting with the leading contenders in the KBO, the NC Dinos. The Tigers are in the midst of a postseason race against the Lotte Giants. The Giants are currently in possession of the last postseason spot with a record of 67-62-1.
A big reason for that has been the performance of American and former major leaguer, Dan Straily. Straily has done all he can to get the attention of Major League Baseball teams. As a 31-year-old, Straight isn’t old enough to disregard as a major league pitcher. If the Giants do get into the postseason, the Giants can thank Straily for that. The Tigers head into Thursday with a record of 67-63-0.
There is still a lot of time left for them to overcome a half game deficit. The Tigers currently have a half game advantage on the Tigers for sixth in the KBO standings. In other words, every game is magnified over the next two weeks. The Tigers got this series started with an entertaining 11-9 win on Tuesday, though the Dinos responded yesterday for a 8-3 win. The Dinos are a hard team to hold down for three games, but cracks are emerging because of a key injury to their rotation.
The Dinos edged ahead with the win last night for a 5.5-game advantage over the KT Wiz at the top of the KBO standings. There isn’t anyone close to them, and the Dinos should be able to clear the field with ease by October 30. The Dinos have led pretty well out of the starting gate in 2020. The Kiwoom Heroes and Doosan Bears gave them some competition in the early stages of the season, but the Dinos have never really been in danger.
Anything can happen in the postseason, though. It’s a brand new “season” and everyone gets to start at 0-0 in the playoffs. The Dinos are certainly going to have a tricky rotation to beat. Having a few reliable starters in the KBO gives them a serious advantage. Possible future major leaguer and ace of the club, Chang-mo Koo, who has a 1.55 ERA and record of 9-0 has been absent with an arm injury.
That makes things a whole lot more interesting. With him out, Drew Rucinski has continued to perform at a high level, and Thursday’s starter, Jung-su Park has tried to fill in, but he is not anything close to Koo. Park is scheduled to get the starting nod for the Dinos in the series finale on Thursday. Ki-young Im will counter for the Tigers. Head below for our free Kia Tigers vs. NC Dinos pick for October 15, 2020.
Kia Tigers vs. NC Dinos KBO Betting Odds:
Kia Tigers vs. NC Dinos Prediction:
If Chang-mo Koo can’t play in the postseason, then the playing field is going to be a little more level in the KBO playoffs. Jung-su Park is not the same as Koo by a long shot. Despite having a 2.93 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 19 appearances, Park has not been early as effective as a starter than as a reliever. The 24-year-old has been used as a reliever in 17 outings and just two starts, which both came recently on October 3 and October 10.
In his second start in 2020, Park was throttled for 3 hits and 3 earned runs in 1.2 innings of work. He left the game against the LG Twins with an ERA of 16.20 and 3.00 WHIP. In 6 innings as a starting hurler, Park has allowed 5 hits and 4 earned runs.
Used sparingly as a reliever the last two years, he notched an ERA of 11.48 and 1.65 WHIP in 11 outings two years ago, and then a 12.60 ERA and 2.80 WHIP in 2019 through three attempts. I’m not too confident in Park tonight after his confidence was rocked against the Twins just five days ago. In any event, the Dinos’ offense should be able to have a nice performance in this one.
The Dinos have touched Ki-young Im up for a 7.56 ERA this season. Im owns an overall ERA of 5.48 and 1.48 WHIP through 22 starts. In 2018 he recorded a 6.26 ERA and 1.70 WHIP and a 5.73 ERA and 1.77 WHIP in 2019.
The Dinos are the only offense in the KBO that has scored more than 800 runs this season. They’ve been effective with a team batting average of .290. I would like to side with the Dinos on the runline to win by 2 or more runs, but it’s hard with Park on the bump for the Dinos.
His command was all over the place five days ago versus the Twins, as he has discovered that being a starter is different than pitching out of the bullpen. I can see plenty of runs on the scoreboard in this one, with the OVER worth considering on Thursday.