Welcome to another night in the KBO!! After a monsoon nearly completely wiped out yesterday's slate, we're battling through a little more rain to try and get some games in tonight. This is a massive nine-game slate, but with starters not being released for game two of the double-headers until later on, there's really no point in even trying to write them up, which leaves us with our typical slate of five to choose from. I have two games here that I absolutely love, and while weather may or may not play a factor, it was worth the time and effort in making the writeup happen, because I think this is a terrific slate if everything is able to start. Enjoy!!
OVERALL RECORD: +85.7U (146-103-12) – $100 bettor up $8,570
Record on 5U PLAYS OF THE YEAR: 1-0 (+5U)
Record on 4U MAX Plays: 5-3-1 (+4.8U)
Record on 3U Plays: 26-9-2 (+41.5U)
Record on 2.5U Plays: 3-7 (-11.4U)
Record on 2U Plays: 64-34-8 (+44.1U)
Record on 1U Plays: 45-38-1 (-0.1U)
Record on .5U Plays (nearly all +200 or greater): 9-14 (+1.8U)
Samsung Lions (-245) VS Hanwha Eagles (+175) O/U 9.5
SP: David Buchanan
2019 ERA: N/A, in MLB
2020 Stats: 3.62 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 49.2 IP, 47 H, 34 K, 13 BB
In two of his first three starts this season, Buchanan was absolutely drubbed for 5+ ER, 6+ hits, and 2 or fewer strikeouts in each. Since the conclusion that third start, Buchanan has looked a different man, putting up the following statline: 31.2 IP / 1.38 ERA / 1.12 WHIP / 23 K / 7 BB. And this hasn’t come against bad competition either – he’s faced Doosan (7 IP/0 ER), NC (7 IP/1 ER), and KT (6.2 IP/2ER), as well as Kia and SK, all legit teams, three of whom are arguably the best-hitting teams in the KBO. Now, the former Philadelphia Philly gets the matchup of his dreams against a Hanwha team composed almost entirely of KBO Minor Leaguers, an experiment that I would argue has failed, considering that over the course of the last two weeks they are averaging 3.4 runs/game, and practically every run over that number has come in blowouts against the back end of their opposition’s pitching. If this game is anything close, Hanwha will be seeing Samsung’s top couple relievers, who have had limited use recently and are some of the best arms in the KBO, including the league’s all-time saves leader, Seung-hwan Oh. Furthermore, Buchanan is as much a workhorse as anyone in the KBO (save for maybe Dan Straily, more on him soon), throwing over 100 pitches in every outing this year other than his debut, which was a “measly” 97 pitches. He’s gone 7 innings in three of his eight outings, and I’m almost willing to bet that this at at least number four – he may go 8, and honestly, it’s really not crazy to think he’ll go the distance if his command is there. Hanwha just can’t hit, and the last two pitchers they’ve faced have been two of Samsung’s worst arms. Samsung beat them down on Monday, and they’re coming off a heartbreaking loss last night after their closer turned his ankle with two outs in the ninth, had to leave the game, and the following two relievers imploded and blew the lead, ending with a Samsung walk-off. It’s hard to imagine Hanwha comes to this game in a great place mentally, and they’re physically overmatched as well. This isn’t a good spot to get creative – I don’t see them scoring any more than two runs in this game, if that.
SP: Beom-su Kim
2019 ERA: 5.68
2020 Stats: 4.70 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 23 IP, 21 H, 21 K, 18 BB
I urged caution last week in Kim’s appearance vs NC, giving the lefty with decent stuff a little credit and expecting him to come out to pitch in a big spot. He did… okay? 4.1 IP / 3 ER / 4 K isn’t necessarily a terrible statline against the Dinos, and we’ve certainly seen much worse, but it wasn’t anything special, and he walked multiple batters for the third outing in a row. He’s been given a longer leash, but this isn’t a guy that’s throwing more than five or six innings at most, and hasn’t pitched past 77 (his last outing) in a KBO appearance. Hanwha may be attempting to make him a starter, but the command and hard contact issues are going to problematic over the long run in that role. Fortunately for Kim, he lands a softer appearance tonight against Samsung, a team starting multiple lefties and missing their best hitter, former Major Leaguer Tyler Saladino. The absence of Saladino clearly leaves a hole in their lineup, which Hanwha exposed for most of the game last night, putting plenty of Samsung runners on base but leaving the Lions 0/14 with RISP until the 9th-inning implosion. Samsung just doesn’t have a ton of power in their order, and their best hitters tonight are left-handed, so this isn’t a game I see them scoring more than 6-ish runs, unless something goes horribly wrong in Hanwha’s bullpen or they forget how to field (either of these things are entirely possible). That being said, it’s not a game they’ll go scoreless, either. They just will have too many chances, and as we saw last night, the longer you tempt fate by putting runners on base, the more inevitable it becomes that runs are scored. This is the perfect time to take a look at a parlay, something I rarely post on here. I see this game being a pretty low-scoring Samsung victory, maybe in the range of 3-5 Samsung, 1-2 Hanwha (final prediction: 4-1), so it makes a lot of sense to me to do a few things. One, parlay the under and eat the moneyline juice, which means you won’t have to worry about covering the spread. Two, bet the spread on its own around -130, which will 100% hit if the over hits, because I can almost guarantee you Hanwha is not scoring more than 4 runs (probably not even 3), meaning that Samsung has scored around 6 on their own, giving a terrific chance at a cover. In the ideal case, my 4-1 predicted victory covers everything, and it’s not out of the question at all for this to happen. You won’t see me post many parlays, but this makes a lot of sense in my mind, and gets you to + odds.
1: Samsung -1.5 (-130) 3U
2: UN 9.5 (+100) 2U
3: Samsung ML/UN 9.5 PARLAY (+180) 2U
4: Hanwha TT UN 3.5 (-110) 2U
GAME ONE OF THE DOUBLEHEADER: Lotte Giants (-200) VS Kia Tigers (+145) O/U 9
SP: Dan Straily
2019 ERA: N/A, in MLB
2020 Stats: 2.10 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 55.2 IP, 39 H, 62 K, 17 BB
If you’re wondering why Lotte – a clearly inferior team to Kia – is -200 in this game, look no further than Lotte’s starting pitcher. Straily has been easily the second-best pitcher in the KBO after prospective MVP Chang-mo Koo, absolutely dominating in every single outing this season other than a brief blip against Kia back in May (no, I am not worried about Kia beating Straily becoming a trend). His surface stats are electric – he’s given up just 11 XBH in 55+ IP – and the peripherals support this start, as he ranks with one of the best FIPs in the KBO at 2.74, possesses the 6th-best hard-hit rate at 13.6%, and is striking out a ton of hitters at a 28.4% clip. Straily has literally had one bad outing the entire season – he’s allowed no more than 2 ER in a single other start the entire year, and over his last three starts, he has gone at least 7 IP with 6+ K’s in each, giving up an average of 1 ER and walking a total of two batters. This is a guy who is clearly locked in, and I don’t see a Kia team that’s really struggled towards the bottom of their order doing much damage here. They do get 2nd basemen Sun-bim Kim back from an injury today, but that’s more something to watch for in the near future than the immediate present, as he’ll have an incredibly tough matchup in the first game back, and will likely need to shake some rust off anyway after missing 15+ games. Straily’s durability and efficiency is second to none, and he’s only getting better, coming off an 8-inning, 3-hit, 12-strikeout, 0-walk start on the road at Kiwoom. Back in his home ballpark, and fresh off an extra day of rest, Straily is in an outstanding position to keep rolling and limit Kia to just a few runs tonight.
SP: Min-woo Lee
2019 ERA: 5.43
2020 Stats: 5.12 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 45.2 IP, 44 H, 30 K, 15 BB
Lee hasn’t been all that consistent this year, but I would say he’s been selectively good and bad, coming in fairly predictable spots. Allow me to explain.
Here are his 2020 stats vs “top-three” offenses (KT, Doosan, NC): 15 IP / 9.00 ERA / 1.67 WHIP
Here are his 2020 stats vs “other-seven” offenses (including Lotte): 30.2 IP / 3.23 ERA / 1.04 WHIP
Notice a difference? Fortunately for Lee, he gets a start against a true other-seven offense, one that he has already faced this year in one of his best outings. That last time against Lotte, Lee threw 6 solid innings, striking out 6 and giving up just 4 H / 2 ER. Lotte just isn’t a team that deals a lot of damage with power, and Lee has done a terrific job limiting that, giving up just 3 HR over 45.2 innings, all of which came in his last two outings (KT/NC). Lotte doesn’t measure up to either of those teams, and I’d be pretty surprised if they do much damage tonight. Furthermore, Lee’s peripherals suggest that he’s nowhere near as bad as his ERA says over the last two years, as he rocked a 3.85 FIP in 2019 (crazily low considering the 5.43 ERA) and currently sports a 4.30, suggesting that he is likely a strong candidate for positive regression, particularly against teams that lack the offensive firepower to do much damage. This is a perfect example of a guy who is underrated by bookmakers because of his ERA, but when you dive into his game-by-game logs and other metrics, it’s pretty clear he’s better than someone who has an ERA in the 5s. I don’t think either team gets over four runs tonight, particularly with both bullpens being completely rested following the rain-postponement yesterday.
1: UN 9 (-120) 4U MAX
2: Kia +1.5 (-120) 2U
3: Lotte TT UN 4.5 (-115) 2U