The Samsung Lions and KT Wiz meet for the second of their three-game series on Saturday at KT Wiz Park in Suwon. The Wiz were clear of the Lions by 5 runs for a 8-3 win. It was a solid all-around effort for the Wiz, as they received a standout performance from William Cuevas, and the offense followed with run support.
Kim Dae-woo lasted 4.2 innings, yielding 8 hits and 4.2 innings. The bullpen didn’t hold up either, as they were tagged for 4 earned runs. The Wiz have been hot recently with wins in four of their previous five games. The catalyst for the Wiz is Mel Rojas Jr. The native of Indianapolis, who couldn’t stick in the major leagues, is hitting .374 with 19 home runs in 56 games.
Rojas Jr. was passed over by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He spent most of his career in their minor league system, along with the Braves for part of his time in the majors as well. Rojas Jr. surprisingly never got the call up to the big leagues, though. He was adequate enough as a minor leaguer, but had to wait until going to South Korea to play in the top-flight of a league.
As a 30-year-old, it’s going to be tough to get the attention of a major league outfit. He’s been destroying the ball, but there isn’t too much upside at his age. If he was 24 or 25 doing this, then that might be different. Of course, there would be a drop off on his numbers at the major league level than in the KBO, so expecting him to do the same is far-fetched.
In any event, Rojas Jr. is making a name for himself in the KBO and can continue to do damage overseas. The Wiz are a game away from the .500 mark, as they enter Saturday with a record of 28-29. Their offense is keeping them afloat this season. Their pitching staff is rather inconsistent.
If that fixed itself or they get help from elsewhere, the Wiz are going to be contenders. I have my doubts that can happen in less than a year, though. The Wiz will go with So Hyeong-jun at home, while the Lions counter with Choi Chae-heung. Head below for our free Samsung Lions vs. KT Wiz pick for July 11, 2020 in the KBO.
Samsung Lions vs. KT Wiz KBO Baseball Betting Odds:
Samsung Lions vs. KT Wiz Prediction:
The KT Wiz are expected to give So Hyeong-jun the starting nod on Saturday. He’s been one member of the Wiz rotation that has been pitching inconsistently. A few of them have been all over the place, with So finding it difficult to get into a groove the most out of the bunch. So, an 18-year-old rookie, has been getting pushed around in his first season at the professional level. He’s expected to develop into a reliable pitcher, but at this point, it appears like So needs more time to develop.
He heads into Saturday with a 6.65 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in nine outings. In his previous three starts, So has posted an ERA of 11.33 and 2.36 WHIP across 12.1 innings of work. He’s coming off a poor showing versus the Hanwha Eagles. So conceded 5 earned runs and 9 hits for a 16.88 ERA and 3.75 WHIP. He has two starts against the Lions this season and neither of them went well. Across 11 innings of work, So conceded a total of 12 runs and 9 earned runs. In all, So posted a 7.36 ERA against the Lions during that stretch.
Choi Chae-heung of the Lions hasn’t had a start against the Wiz yet this season. However, he has been in good form and is going into Saturday on fire. In two straight performances, against the SK Wyverns and LG Twins, Choi gave up no runs in 11 innings for a 0.00 ERA and 0.815 WHIP. He hasn’t allowed more than a run in a start since June 6 versus the SK Wyverns. Overall, Choi has a 3.08 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in nine starts this season. I will take my chances on Choi over So at a pretty reasonable price on Saturday.