The NC Dinos and Samsung Lions will close out the KBO regular season at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu on Friday. With only one game on the slate Saturday in South Korea, this is the final full day of the KBO. It’s the final day for the Lions in 2020. For the Dinos, they have the Korean Series to look forward to.
The Dinos receive an automatic ticket to the Korean Series for finishing first in the KBO. That’s how the KBO works. The No. 1 seed goes straight to the championship series. There is an added incentive to earn that top seed in this league. That will belong to the Dinos, who already clinched last weekend.
There is of course nothing to play for today for either team. However, the return of Chang-mo Koo is worth nothing. The Dinos’ ace has been absent from the rotation for over two months with a fractured forearm. He made a spot appearance out of the bullpen the other day to pitch an inning as a reliever, but Koo will make his first start in over a month. The 23-year-old has been a superstar when he’s healthy.
If there’s any pitcher in Major League Baseball in the KBO with a chance to go to the majors it has to be him. That doesn’t mean he’s going next season or even the following season, but his effort in 2020 has perhaps laid down the fountain for a trip overseas. Hyun-jin Ryu spent 2006 to 2012 with the Hanwha Eagles of the KBO before going to MLB.
Koo is a small pitcher, not anything like Ryu who is a bigger guy. Koo weighs only 167 pounds and about the same height as Tim Lincecum. He must avoid a violent delivery and keep his delivery in check or it’d be a shortened career. We’ll see how he responds after nursing a fractured forearm. Tae-in Won will get the final start of the regular season for the Lions today. Head below for our free NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions pick for October 30, 2020.
NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions KBO Baseball Betting Odds:
NC Dinos vs. Samsung Lions Prediction:
This is a tune-up game for Chang-mo Koo. If Koo reverts to his regular self before he was injured, then the Dinos are going to be more than thrilled going into the playoffs. Koo has a perfect record of 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. He showed nice improvement from 2018 to 2019, with a 5.35 ERA to a 3.10 ERA in one season.
Koo has taken an additional leap this season. I don’t believe the Dinos would be giving him a start in the regular season if he wasn’t at full health. In his first starting assignment in over a month, Koo will see an opponent that he’s had a lot of success against this year.
Through two starts and 12 innings versus the Lions, Koo has not allowed a run for a perfect ERA of 0.00. Koo conceded only 3 hits in those 12 innings on the bump. This will not be his first appearance since the injury, but his first start. The Dinos gave Koo 1.1 innings as a reliever on October 24 against the LG Twins. Koo was sharp with no walks, hits, and a strikeout in his first outing since July 26. I’m confident that Koo finishes strong on Friday.
Tae-in Won is in his sophomore season in the KBO. He held his own as a rookie with an ERA of 4.82 and 1.41 WHIP. Obviously that isn’t great, but something to build on in his next year. Unfortunately, Won hasn’t built on anything and has hovered in the same spot. Won goes into Friday with a 4.94 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. The good news is that Won has had a good performance versus the Dinos in 2020.
He allowed 4 hits and no runs against the Dinos through 6 innings on September 12. However, Won wasn’t as fortunate in his next spot against them, as he was tagged for a 4.50 ERA and 2.50 WHIP. He’s lucky to get out of that game with an ERA of 4.50. Won conceded 7 hits and 3 walks in 4 innings, so it could have been a lot worse. I’m on Koo to impress in his return, while the bats take care of Won on Friday to provide him with some run support. This isn’t a price I’d unload on the runline with, but still likely hits.