The most anticipated series of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) early season has lived up the hype and now the NC Dinos (11-2) and the Doosan Bears (8-5) will battle it out in the rubber game of the series. This game will air live on ESPN2 at 5:30 a.m. EST on Thursday May 21, 2020.
Tuesday kicked off this series and it looked like the NC Dinos were going to run away with the game, but the Doosan Bears made it close late. The Dinos got out to a 4-0 lead in the first two innings, and a 5-0 lead overall, but the Bears fought back to make it a 5-4 game in the bottom of the 8th inning. Ultimately, the NC Dinos prevailed 5-4 and Mike Wright notched his second win of the season.
Wednesday saw some late inning drama as it took 11 innings for the Doosan Bears to prevail with a 2-1 win. The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but the Dinos were able to tie the score up at one in the top of the fourth inning. That was the final run of the game until Park Se-hyuk hit in the game winning run with one out in the 11th inning. Ham Duk-joo got his first win of the season and now has one win, one hold, one save, and one blown save.
Below is my pick for the NC Dinos vs Doosan Bears. All odds are from BetRivers Sportsbook.
NC Dinos (-142) vs Doosan Bears (+118): O/U 9.5 (-104/-122)
Pitching Match-Up: Lee Jae-hak (1-0, 3.97 ERA) vs Yu Hui-kwan (1-1, 5.00 ERA)
Last time out Lee Jae-hak gave up just one run, and two hits, in six innings, but received a no-decision after the SK Wyverns tied the game up in the bottom of the 9th. NC ultimately got the 6-2 win after scoring four runs in the top of the 10th inning. The righty got the win in his opening start of the season after giving up four earned runs in five 1/3 innings pitched.
Yu Hui-kwan rebounded from a tough opening start loss to earn the win in a 13-4 win over the KIA Tigers. The lefty threw five innings and gave up 0 earned runs, though two runs did cross the plate, which was a drastic change from his opening start where he gave up five earned runs in four innings pitched.
The bats have been relatively silent the first two games, by KBO standards, as only four NC Dinos and three Doosan Bears are batting over .300 this series. The only player to hit a home run is Yang Eui-ji and only two players have more than one RBI – Eui-ji (2) and Doosan’s Kim Jae-ho (2).
The NC Dinos are batting .272 on the year, have a team ERA of 3.19, and have hit 19 home runs. Doosan is batting .316, with 17 home runs, but the pitching staff has an abysmal 5.64 ERA.
These two teams lead the league in walk-offs, along with the Lotte Giants, with two early in the season.
Prediction: I like the Doosan Bears to get the win and take two out of three from the league leaders.
KBO Picks Record: 6-4