The Kiwoom Heroes and KT Wiz will wrap up their three-game series at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Thursday. The Wiz are trying to keep their slim chances alive of winning the KBO regular season, but will probably run out of track down the stretch.
They’re in a good position right now for second in the KBO with a record of 74-57-1 for a 5.5-game disadvantage on the Dinos. The Dinos have looked ordinary without Chang-mo Koo in the rotation, so there could be an opportunity in the playoffs for the Wiz to upend the Dinos.
The Dinos go into Thursday with a record of 78-50-4 to lead the KBO. They’ve been atop the standings for the duration of the regular season. The Wiz started slow, but erupted just over a month into the regular season. The red-hot bat of Mel Rojas Jr. got the Wiz going and they haven’t really stopped since breaking out of an early season funk.
Rojas has the most dangerous bat in the KBO, as some awards should be heading his way at the end of the season. Rojas is hitting .349 with 42 home runs and 122 RBI for a career-high. If the Dinos and Wiz do meet in the postseason, it sure would be nice to throw an ace like Koo at Rojas. The offense has carried the Wiz in 2020, but they’ve been getting some adequate pitching as well.
With their ability offensively, adequate might be all it takes to have success in the postseason. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday, as the Heroes were winners by a score of 5-3 on the road. The Wiz got things started with an impressive 7-3 win on Tuesday, so we arrive at the rubber-match today.
The Heroes, who added former all-star shortstop, Addison Russell, to their roster in June, go into Thursday with a record of 76-61-1 for fifth in the KBO. Barring some epic collapse, the Heroes are going to be going to the playoffs.
They probably thought they’d be better than a fifth seed, but fifth to second is really tight with not much separation. The Heroes are just a game behind the Wiz, who are second, so they still have a really good chance of upgrading their seed. Head below for our free Kiwoom Heroes vs. KT Wiz pick for October 15, 2020.
Kiwoom Heroes vs. KT Wiz KBO Betting Odds:
Kiwoom Heroes vs. KT Wiz Prediction:
William Cuevas has been a reliable option for the KT Wiz the last two years. After debuting in the KBO in 2019 with solid production, Cuevas has consistently gone about his business as a sophomore in South Korea. He posted an ERA of 3.62 and 1.17 WHIP as a KBO rookie last season.
Cuevas has regressed slightly, but nothing to be too concerned about. He enters the series finale against the Heroes with a 4.21 ERA and 1.27 WHIP through 24 games. One of the best performances of the year came on September 5 against the Heroes.
Cuevas was locked in, as he gave up just 5 hits and 1 earned run through 8.2 innings. Run support is usually solid for Cuevas and the rest of this Wiz rotation. The Wiz are third in the KBO with a team batting average of .283. Conversely, the Heroes are hitting just .271 for seventh in the league.
It feels like they were hitting the ball better before Russell showed up. He hasn’t been much of an asset for the Heroes. Russell is hitting just .261 with 1 home run in 59 games. He’s not getting back into the majors with those numbers.
Rookie 21-year-old Jae-woong Kim will make just his seventh start as a professional on Thursday. He has been used primarily as a reliever in his first season, with 35 appearances out of the bullpen. After getting shelled in back-to-back starts on September 8 and September 15 as a starter, Kim was moved back to the rotation.
He conceded 14 hits and 11 earned runs in only 3 innings of work in those two outings versus the Wyverns and Giants. This will be his first start since then. He’s been rather average otherwise, with a season ERA of 4.69 and 1.53 WHIP. I would side with the home team at KT Wiz Park to take two out of three games in this important series.