A new week means a new Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) slate of games and there are some interesting series set for the week ahead. Two teams battling to get out of the bottom half of the standings begin their second head-to-head of the season, on Tuesday June 2, 2020, as the Kia Tigers (12-12) welcome the Lotte Giants (11-12) to Gwangju. This game will air live on ESPN at 5:30 a.m. ESPN. These two teams met just two weeks ago that saw the Tigers walk away with the home sweep.
In game one of that series the Tigers walked away with a 9-2 win thanks to a nice outing from Lee Min-woo and a four RBI performance by Na Ji-wan. The Tigers hit three home runs in this one and led comfortably throughout. Kia shutout the Giants in game two thanks to six brilliant innings from Drew Gagnon. The Tigers were led by Choi Hyung-woo at the plate, who had one home run and two RBIs on the day. Game three was a similar story as the Tigers got eight stellar innings from Im Ki-young en route to a 6-1 victory.
Below is my pick for the Lotte Giants vs Kia Tigers. All odds are from PointsBet Sportsbook.
Lotte Giants (+124) vs Kia Tigers (-150): O/U 8.5 (-130/+102)
Pitching Match-Up: Park Se-woong (0-3, 6.50 ERA) vs Im Ki-young (1-3, 3.86 ERA)
Park Se-woong has struggled to start 2020 and will look to turn things around against the Tigers on Tuesday. Se-woong is averaging just 4.5 innings pitched per game and is giving up 3.2 earned runs and 5.5 hits in those innings. The righty has already faced Kia this season, back on May 21, when he gave up five earned runs in four innings and took the loss.
Im Ki-young has a poor record, but his outings have been much better than his record shows. Ki-young has yet to give up more than four earned runs in a game, twice holding teams to one earned run, but has not had the offense to back him up. The righty will have confidence heading into this one as he took the win against Lotte, on May 21, with an eight inning, one earned run, gem.
The Lotte Giants are one of the worst KBO teams over the last 10 games as they are just 4-6 with a -18-run differential, a -2-hit differential, and a -9-home run differential. It’s been a so, so start to the season for Lotte on the road as they are 5-7 with a 0-run differential, a -1-hit differential, and a -2-home run differential.
Kia is 5-5 over their last 10 games with a -1-run differential, a +8-hit differential and a +4-home run differential. At home, Kia has also been just .500, at 6-6, with a +1-run differential, +7-hit differential, and a +6-home run differential.
Prediction: I am backing the Kia Tigers in the series opener.
KBO Picks Record: 13-7