Jurassic Park isn’t the formal name of a Korean baseball stadium (yet), but the NC Dinos (10-1) are running roughshod over the KBO in a way that’s causing the ground to shake under pennant contenders.
After finishing off a sweep of the riches-to-rags SK Wyverns with an 11-5 Sunday feast, the Dinos enjoyed a three-game lead in the standings…
10-1: NC Dinos
7-4: Doosan Bears, LG Twins, Lotte Giants
7-5: Kiwoon Heroes
5-7: Kia Tigers, Hanwha Eagles
4-7: KT Wiz
4-8: Samsung Lions
1-10: SK Wyverns
An impressive start to be sure. But, the Dinos have bullied the bottom of the barrel thus far, earning three-game sweeps over each of the three worst teams in the standings. NC is 9-0 vs. KT, Samsung, and SK (none of whom has a winning record when NOT playing the Dinos)…and earned a 1-1 series split with the LG Twins.
A huge test awaits Tuesday with the start of a three-game set at defending champion Doosan. The Bears have won three of the last five league titles, and are being priced again like champions this year by betting markets. Doosan has been favored in all 12 games this season (six on the road, three at home, three at a “neutral” site in its home stadium shared by the LG Twins). Prices Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will tell us how the most informed KBO observers believe the 2020 Dinos and Bears stack up head-to-head.
Great news for baseball fans in the USA. ESPN2 will carry Tuesday’s and Thursday’s games live overnight, and then re-broadcast them later in the afternoon in response to clamor for more accessible KBO coverage. The upcoming slate (all times Eastern)…
Tuesday: NC at Doosan…5:30 a.m. live, 2 p.m. replay
: LG at Samsung…5:30 a.m. live, 2 p.m. replay
: NC at Doosan…5:30 a.m. live, 1 p.m. replay
If you live and bet in Las Vegas, those TV times are 2:30 a.m. live, 11 a.m. (Tue-Wed) and 10 a.m. (Thursday) on the replay.
Major League Baseball won’t arrive until the first week of July at the earliest. Those afternoon replays give newcomers a great chance to enjoy the KBO experience.
*Doosan has played NINE straight Overs, keyed by an explosive offense but inconsistent pitching staff. Sunday’s 6-4 at the Kia Tigers win topped a low total of 8.5 in a projected pitchers duel. That after a 13-4 win Friday, and a 13-4 loss Saturday easily cleared market hurdles. Streaks don’t last forever. But, it’s clear that oddsmakers and sharps have underestimated scoring potential so far in Doosan’s games.
*On the other end of the spectrum, the Hanwha Eagles have played six straight Unders. Since early on, we’ve alerted you to the team’s anemic offense. Hanwha “exploded” for five runs Sunday (second highest total all season), but needed three unearned runs against a “bullpen day” for Lotte to get that high. The 5-4 victory stayed under a total of 9.5 inflated by a poor pitching matchup.
*Studying low-to-high scoring lines help handicappers accurately evaluate team offenses. Averages by themselves can be warped by extremes in a short sample size. Even later in the season, averages paint a slightly optimistic picture for all teams because bad games can only register as “zero” at worst. If an offense explodes for 15 runs in one game, they won’t ever score “negative six” to counteract the impact.
Here are scoring lines through Sunday’s action. Teams are ranked by medians, which are in parenthesis.
KT had a huge weekend pounding Samsung pitching, outscoring the Lions 33-12 with 14, 10, and 9 on the daily scoreboards. SK’s 2-1-5 sequence against the Dinos kept the Wyverns with the worst league median.
A quick shortcut for estimating runs…if a team is facing a fairly standard pitching challenge, assume the median best captures its expectation. Against better than average pitching, shade toward lower numbers on the left. Against worse than average pitching (particularly vs. “bullpen days” in this league with shaky relievers), shade to the right.
*A quick follow-up to last Thursday’s notes on “get-away” days. That outlier stands out even more after three days that included some league aces. Let’s run the starting-pitcher strikeout/walk numbers for the full week starting with last Tuesday…
Tuesday: 49 strikeouts, 11 walks
Wednesday: 45 strikeouts, 26 walks
Thursday: 65 strikeouts, 14 walks
Friday: 28 strikeouts, 14 walks (only 4 games)
Saturday: 54 strikeouts, 25 walks (6 games)
Sunday: 39 strikeouts, 13 walks
Kiwoom at LG was rained out Friday, then made up as part of a doubleheader Saturday. Even with that extra game, there were only 54 strikeouts by starting pitchers Saturday, compared to 65 in five games Thursday when many teams knew they had to travel immediately afterward. Let’s see what happens in this midweek’s series finales.
See you again at the end of the week. For now, you have some games to watch!