What's up KBO?

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN.com) 

May 14, 2020 06:02 PM

Should KBO handicappers and bettors be prepared for “Bugs Bunny Baseball” every Thursday? 

That’s a metaphor for the tendency of hitters to swing away in a series finales on “get away days” where one or both teams will be travelling to play somewhere else within 24 hours. “One…two…three strikes yer out!” through the lineup.

Many old school gamblers take that into account when betting baseball Over/Unders, or whenever high strikeout hurlers are facing an offense with a plane (or a train) to catch. 

It would seem that this would be less of an issue in South Korea, which is much more geographically condensed than the US. But, Thursday’s game action suggested handicappers may want to keep this angle on the radar.

Strikeouts and Walks by Starting Pitchers

Tuesday: 49 K’s, 11 BB’s

Wednesday: 45K’s, 26 BB’s

Thursday: 65K’s, 14 BB’s

Among Thursday’s pitching highlights…

*Chang-mo Koo of the NC Dinos totaled 10 K’s while allowing just one walk in a team shutout of the KT Wiz, who were heading home to Suwon after the game in Changwon.

*Opposing hurler Je-seong Bae of the Wiz posted 7 K’s with one walk in seven shutout innings of that matchup …with NC heading northeast to Incheon after the game.

*Tyler Wilson of the LG Twins and Chae-heung Choi of the Samsung Lions both reached 7 K’s with two walks vs. opponents soon heading elsewhere. 

Of course, pitchers can hurl gems vs. struggling offenses even without this potential distraction in the air. Drew Gagnon of the Kia Tigers had 9K’s and one walk at Hanwha, who was staying home for the weekend. 

On the whole, Thursday starting pitchers posted a combined ERA of 3.10 in what had been a very high scoring league, with seven of ten reaching 90 pitches, and four of 10 reaching 105 pitches. 

VSiN will monitor this potential Thursday dynamic for you through the season. There’s no sense of urgency for travel in Sunday series finales because Mondays are off days. If “Bugs Bunny Baseball” is a real factor, the cartoon will air on Thursday nights Korea time (early Thursday morning here in the US). 

DOOSAN DERAILS LOTTE

The Doosan Bears took two of three on the road against the Lotte Giants in the highest profile early-week series. That slowed down the rags-to-riches ride of the previously unbeaten Giants. Defending champ Doosan is now just one game behind Lotte in the standings, two behind surprise leader the NC Dinos. 

7-1: NC Dinos

6-2: Lotte Giants 

6-3: Kiwoom Heroes

5-3: Doosan Bears, LG Twins

4-5: Kia Tigers, Samsung Lions

3-6: Hanwha Eagles

1-7: SK Wyverns, KT Wiz

NC swept KT to extend the margins, winning all three games by one run. LG did the same to the disappointing (“riches to rags”) SK Wyverns, who have now lost six straight. Samsung took two of three at Kiwoom. Kia did the same at Hanwha in a battle of struggling offenses. All three games there stayed Under the total. 

OFFENSES DRIVING EARLY RESULTS

Speaking of offenses, let’s run the low-to-high scoring lines for each offense heading into the weekend sets. You’ll see a strong correlation between offensive quality and success in the standings. Teams are ranked by medians, which are in parenthesis:

Doosan: 2-3-5-(7-9)-9-11-13

Lotte: 4-4-6-(7-7)-9-9-10

LG: 2-3-3-(5-8)-9-10-14

NC: 1-4-4-(5-7)-8-8-13

Kiwoom: 0-3-3-5-(5)-5-5-6-11

KT: 0-2-3-(4-4)-6-12-12

SK: 0-0-2-(2-4)-5-5-9

Samsung: 0-2-2-3-(3)-5-5-8-14

Hanwha: 1-2-3-(3-3)-3-3-4-8

Kia: 0-1-2-2-(2)-2-4-8-12

The five teams currently with winning records all have medians of five runs or more, and are consistently lighting up the scoreboard. Down at the bottom, Hanwha has scored three or less in seven of nine games…Kia two or less in six of nine. 

If you prefer handicapping with run-scoring averages: Doosan 7.4, Lotte 7.0, LG 6.8, NC 6.3, KT 5.4, Kiwoom 4.8, Samsung 4.7, Kia 3.7, SK 3.4, Hanwha 3.3. 

KIWOOM (6-3) AT LG (5-3) HIGHLIGHTS WEEKEND

There’s only one matchup this weekend that features two teams currently with winning records going head-to-head. That’s the Kiwoom Heroes at the LG Twins. The NC Dinos will try to pad their 7-1 record on the road at struggling SK. Lotte has a chance to stay relevant on the road at Hanwha. Doosan must stay focused at Kia in ESPN2’s featured series. Samsung can reach or pass .500 with a successful road series at KT.

This weekend’s TV schedule on ESPN2

Friday 5:25 am. ET: Doosan at Kia

Saturday 4 a.m. ET: Doosan at Kia

Sunday: 1 a.m. ET: Kiwoom at LG (10 p.m. Saturday Las Vegas time) 

VSiN is keeping an eye on reports from South Korea about a surge of covid infections keyed by bars and nightclubs in the Itaewon district of Seoul. The KBO made it clear before the delayed start of the season that any player testing positive for the virus would trigger a league-wide three-week hiatus for quarantine. Bettors know that sports leagues around the world are monitoring the KBO as a model for their own restart or delayed-start efforts. 

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