The Kia Tigers and Samsung Lions wrap up a three-game series on Thursday at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu. The Lions won the opener by a score of 5-1, and then the Tigers responded for a 5-2 win yesterday. It was a tight affair on Wednesday before the Tigers pulled away late with 3 runs in the top of the 9th inning.
The Lions maintained a 2-1 lead throughout most of the game, but the Tigers got their offense going in the later stages of the contest. It almost felt like the Lions needed some more runs instead of clinging to a 1-run lead. The Lions scored a run in the bottom of the 3rd, and then held a 2-1 advantage until the Tigers tied it up in the 8th.
The Tigers are up to 32-26 on the season. They are still without their leading-hitter Kim Sun-bin. Kim has been dealing with a hamstring injury. He is expected to be out for another two or so weeks. Kim was leading the KBO in hitting at the time of his exit. That left a serious gap in the lineup for the Tigers. The Tigers didn’t score a run in the first game of this series, and then didn’t get things going until late yesterday. They have a 19-year-old rookie on the opposite side pitching today, though.
That’s a game that the Lions let slip away. Baek Jung-hyun pitched a strong game acruss 5.2 innings of work, with 3 hits and no earned runs conceded. The bats didn’t give him much run support, and the bullpen didn’t hold up, though. The Lions fell to 31-30 on the season with the loss. They’re keeping their heads above water to stay a game over .500. The top-5 teams reach the KBO postseason, with Samsung a game behind the LG Twins for the final spot.
The Lions go through stretches where they look like a contender, and then kind of flounder around and play like a different team. They were cool to open the season, so the fact that they’re 31-30 right now isn’t the worst. The Lions will send Heo Yoon-dong to the hill against Yang Hyun-jong of the Tigers on Thursday in the series finale. Heo is making the seventh start of his career today, while Yang is a veteran with 406 games of experience. Head below for our free Kia Tigers vs. Samsung Lions pick for July 16, 2020 in the KBO.
Kia Tigers vs. Samsung Lions KBO Baseball Betting Odds:
Kia Tigers vs. Samsung Lions Prediction:
Heo Yoon-dong was selected with the fifth overall pick in the most recent KBO draft. He’s only a 19-year-old with plenty of room to develop and grow. It isn’t often that a guy steps in as a rookie and dominates. Heo isn’t dominating, but he’s pitching serviceably enough. Heo enters Thursday with an ERA of 4.15 and 2-1 record in six starts. However, he has been putting way too many hitters on base and it has been catching up to him recently.
Heo has a 1.73 WHIP, which goes back to his control issues. Heo has walked 9 hitters in his previous three games, which encompasses 11 innings of play. In his most recent performance, Heo didn’t last long against the KT Wiz. They got to Heo for 3 hits and 2 earned runs in an inning for a 18.00 ERA and 5.00 WHIP. That’s what happens when too many runners find their way on the bases. Eventually it’ll catch up to a young pitcher. Despite no Kim Sun-bin in the lineup for the Tigers, they won’t have to do much if Heo can’t throw a strike.
The Lions have done a number on Yang Hyun-jong once already this season. They got to him for 7 earned runs in 4 innings for a 15.75 ERA and 2.50 WHIP in 4 innings of work. Overall, Yang has been inconsistent with a 5.65 ERA and 1.41 WHIP in 12 starts. He scored a career-high with a 2.29 ERA last season, but has been regressing hard in 2020.
In his previous five starts, Yang has allowed at least 3 earned runs in four outings, including 12 earned runs in his last 9.2 innings on the mound. Yang hasn’t had his ERA below 3.00 since June 9 against the KT Wiz. I’d like to side with the Lions as home dogs here, but Heo has been too wild on the mound. He’s undoubtedly going to get into trouble again with his inability to prevent walks. I’m anticipating more than 10 runs in total on the board in this one.