Record: 37-40-3 (Streak W) Down 3.93u over 80 KBO picks
Last: Doosan at NC UNDER 8 -115 (NC’s insurance run in the bottom of the 8th turned this from a win into a push.)
Pick: Doosan at NC UNDER 7.5 -112, KBO Baseball, 4:30am ET
Game 1 was decided on a single swing of the bat by former Philadelphia Phillie Aaron Altherr. In the fourth inning, with 2 men on and 1 out, Altherr hit a full-count pitch out of the park. NC would win 5-3. Neither starter was particularly sharp, but Rucinski mostly got out of his trouble while Alcantara missed with this one pitch. If he gets Altherr, the game could have gone very differently. Once again, there wasn’t a tremendous amount of offense, but there were 5 extra base hits (only one other playoff game has had more).
Doosan’s starter in this game is actually their best pitcher, and may be the best pitcher in the league (more on that in a moment). Chris Flexen was 8-4 this season with a 3.01 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. He broke his foot in July and was out until September. Once he returned and settled in, no one pitched better. Over his final 6 starts, he allowed 5 ER on 25 H with 3 BB and 49 K in 38.2 IP. In fact, over his last 4, he gave up just 1 ER on 13 H with 3 BB and 38 K in 26.2 IP. He’s been just as good in the playoffs. In two starts and a long relief appearance, he’s allowed just 2 ER on 9 H with 3 BB and 24 K in 16.1 IP.
NC’s starter in this game is actually their best pitcher, and would have been the best pitcher in the league if he hadn’t had broken his forearm in July. Chang-mo Koo was 9-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 0.81 WHIP this season. In 10 of his first 12 starts, he allowed 1 or fewer ER. He’s pitched just twice since returning from injury. First it was 1.1 hitless relief innings against LG and then it was a 5 inning start against Samsung where he allowed 3 ER on 4 H in 5 IP. That start was 18 days ago. There is at least some question about how sharp Koo will be and you have to wonder how many innings you’ll get.
The good news for the Dinos is the bullpen has been much improved from where it was early in the season. Here is the bullpen ERA by month: May 5.35, June 7.67, July 4.70, August 4.71, September 2.84, October 4.30. The October ERA may be a little misleading as NC took their foot off the gas and pitched a lot of relievers in spots they wouldn’t have otherwise. Regardless, you can see the improvement and why a short outing by Koo isn’t necessarily a death sentence. In game 1, the Dinos bullpen threw 3.2 scoreless innings allowing just 2 hits.
The over/under this game is going to settle at 7.5. We were lucky in game 1 that it settled at 8 and ended up getting a push instead of a loss. But since I think the pitching will be even better this game, I still love the under. Picking the winner is tough. Flexen has lost just once in his last 13 starts while Koo hasn’t lost at all in his 14 starts. Doosan is more desperate to win this game as going down 0-2 with Flexen on the mound could all but end the series. I picked Doosan in game 1, but Alcantara let me down. I don’t think Flexen will do the same. My top pick is under 7.5 (-112), but I also recommend Doosan on the moneyline (-116).
Tail or fade, I wish you the best of luck.