Recapping Day 42 of the KBO

All you need to know from Day 42 of KBO action.

Another day of KBO play is in the books and I wonder if I’ll ever get tired of saying the NC Dinos won again. The Doosan Bears edged out the LG Twins 3-1 as the fight for 2nd place (and a bye) is heating up. The Samsung Lions handed a 12-5 smackdown to the Kia Tigers – breaking a 4 game win streak, and the Kiwoom Heroes are now at 5 straight victories after defeating the lowly SK Wyverns.

Miss some of the action from last night? Click on the links below to watch!

NC Dinos: 9, Hanwha Eagles: 7

KT Wiz: 3, Lotte Giants: 2

Kiwoom Heroes: 7, SK Wyverns: 2

Doosan Bears: 3, LG Twins: 1

Samsung Lions: 12, Kia Tigers: 5


Let’s take a look at the top performers from the day, brought to you by Liam Casey and Matt Wallach:


Best Hitters

Kang Baek-ho (1B, KT Wiz) 2-3, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R. At just 20 years old, Kang has been absolutely on fire to start the 2020 season. The first basement entered this one hitting .351/.411/.702 in 24 games with 8 home runs – all good for a 178 wRC+. He got to work early in this one, smacking a 2 run homer in the 1st inning. When 2 runs did not prove enough to defeat the Giants, Kang added a solo shot in the 6th as well. The Wiz owe this one entirely to the bat of Kang Baek-ho.

Choi Jeong (DH, SK Wyverns) 1-4, HR, RBI, R. It was a quiet day for Wyvern bats overall but Choi managed to make some noise in the losing effort against the Heroes. The 8th inning solo home run was Choi’s 7th on the year, and after a dreadful start to the season for the typically stalwart hitter, Choi’s bat is starting to show some signs of life. Coming into Sunday, Choi’s average was up to a decent .258 while his OBP (.406) and SLG (.461) are both quite strong. 

Lee Jung-hoo (DH, Kiwoom Heroes) 2-4, 2 RBI, R, SB. Lee continued his dominant season on Sunday. His RBI single in the 1st plated Kim Ha-seong, and then Lee stole 2nd base and was brought around to score by Park Byung-ho. In his 4 KBO seasons, Lee has posted AVG’s north of .300 and OPS’s over .800 in each year. 2020 looks no different as Lee continues to anchor the Heroes’ lineup. 

Choi Jin-haeng (LF, Hanwha Eagles) 2-5, 2 RBI, 2 R. In yet another loss for the Eagles, cleanup man Choi did what he could to keep his squad within striking distance of the dominant Dinos. In the top of the 7th with the Dinos leading 6-2, Choi delivered a single to left field, bringing 2 runs home and giving the Eagles a spark of hope. Unfortunately, the Dinos would grab their insurance runs in the bottom of that same frame. Maybe the Eagles will have better luck in their next set against the Samsung Lions.

Kwon Hee-dong (LF, NC Dinos) 2-3, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, BB. In the panoply of great hitters the NC Dinos have seemingly collected, Kwon got his turn as the star of this one. He cranked a 2 run homer to right field in the bottom of the 5th, and managed to score on a wild pitch in the decisive 7th inning. With the win for his squad and a loss for the LG Twins, Kwon and the Dinos have once again widened their admittedly slim lead on the 1st place crown. 

Choi Young-jin (3B, Samsung Lions) 3-3, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB. Choi was a score sheet darling on Sunday, reaching base in every at bat. He managed a 2-run single in the 5th, but not before smacking his first home run of the season in the 4th – a 395 foot shot to left that plated old MLB pal Tyler Saladino. The Samsung Lions are within shouting distance of a playoff spot, and big days like this from Choi are exactly what they’ll need to make it to the dance.

Tyler Saladino (1B, Samsung Lions) 2-3, RBI, 2 R. Speaking of Saladino, he didn’t have a bad day at the dish either. While he wasn’t as explosive as his teammate Choi Young-jin, Saladino continued his excellent debut KBO season. As cleanup man for the Lions, Saladino entered Sunday hitting .281/.410/.509 with 6 homers and 5 stolen bases. Still somehow only 30 years old, Saladino could very well be next in the long line of former MLB players who establish themselves as elite KBO threats. 

Liam Casey

Best Pitchers


Raul Alcantara (Doosan Bears): 8 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 0 BB. After a somewhat slow start to the season, that was maybe a little unlucky, Raul Alcantara is starting to see his results come back to where they’d be expected to be. Today’s start is right up there with his best performances of the season as he went eight strong as he was cruising for most of this one, getting through those eight innings in just 102 pitches before turning it over to the bullpen. This gem of a performance will drop his ERA on the season to 3.69, which would be a better mark than last season’s 4.01 ERA when he was pitching for the KT Wiz. I have a feeling his ERA may drop even lower in the future, as his good peripheral numbers would indicate a much better pitcher than we’ve seen to this point. Overall, through nine starts, the Bears have to be happy with his performance. Although he hasn’t been their best pitcher in terms of ERA, he alongside Chris Flexen provide a nice stabilizing duo of pitchers that the team can trust in an otherwise shaky pitching group.

Eric Jokisch (Kiwoom Heroes): 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 6 K, 1 BB. Another good start for the former Major Leaguer, who came into today’s start with an incredible 1.68 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. In his last time out, he didn’t pitch bad, giving up just two runs in six innings, but with just one strikeout in those six frames. This time out, we saw a much more dominant outing from Jokisch as he struck out six and helped the Heroes earn their fifth straight victory. Overall, it’s hard to complain about Jokisch’s season to this point. You would maybe like to see higher strikeout totals, but after this start, his ERA drops to a minuscule 1.63, and he has emerged as the Heroes’ undisputed ace in his second season in the league.

William Cuevas (KT Wiz): 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 0 BB. Another former Major Leaguer makes the recap with another dominant outing. This time it’s courtesy of KT’s William Cuevas, who really needed this start today coming into this one having allowed 13 runs in his previous three starts. This was also his first start since May 30th as he’s been sidelined due to a hip injury. Perhaps that long layoff was what was needed, as Cuevas simply looked sharp today, as this was by far his best start of the season, as he helped the Wiz get back in the win column today. It’s been perhaps a bit of tough luck for Cuevas so far this season as the strikeouts have been there and the walks haven’t been too much of an issue, so this could also be the start of some positive regression for the 29-year-old. This is his second season in the KBO, and was good in 2019 with a 3.62 ERA in 184 innings, so he’s had recent success, so I’d bet that we see him pitch more like what he did last year in the near future.

Baek Jung-hyun (Samsung Lions): 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 0 BB. Speaking of pitchers who needed a good start, the 32-year-old left-hander came into his start today with a 6.48 ERA and 1.72 WHIP, as things just haven’t been going his way in his 14th KBO season. Although things have been better recently, as this will now make it just three runs allowed in his last three starts, a stretch of starts that includes six runs of shutout baseball back on June 10th. Today’s commanding performance was by far his best of the season, as he tied his season-high in strikeouts while also doing a good job limiting baserunners, as he helped Samsung snap their three-game losing streak which has sent them down the standings. With more good performances from their veteran pitcher, they could end up back where they want to be in the standings soon enough.  


Tuesday’s Key Matchup


Aaron Brooks (Kia Tigers) vs. Seo Jun-won (Lotte Giants). Monday is the common off day in the KBO, so without games tomorrow we have to look forward to Tuesday instead. Don’t forget that Pitcher List will recap the last week of KBO action and catch you up on everything you need to know. You can read last week’s recap here. Moving on to Tuesday’s games, we should get a pretty good pitching matchup, as the Tigers will send out their ace in Aaron Brooks as they look to continue their hot stretch. For Brooks, he didn’t pitch badly in his last start, but it wasn’t his best of the season. He struck out eight and walked just one, which is nice to see, but he also allowed three runs while not making it through six innings. His first season in the KBO has been a successful one so far, as he’ll enter with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP through 48 innings. On the other side, the Giants will turn to 19-year-old Seo Jun-won, who has been making quite the impression in his first season as a full-time starter. It’s not a super flashy line, but he enters with a 3.71 ERA, and he appears to have been finding his stride recently. Coming off two bad starts in a row in mid-May, he’s allowed just six runs in the next five starts, and outside of Dan Straily, he’s been their most dependable pitcher by far. He’ll look to continue his strong run of performances as the Giants look to bounce back from Sunday’s loss to the Wiz.

— Matt Wallach

-graphic by Justin Paradis

Alex Fast

An FSWA award winner for Research Article of the Year, Alex is the co-host of On The Corner and host of the weekend edition of First Pitch. He received his masters in interactive telecommunications from NYU's ITP. All opinions are Alex's and Alex's alone. A die-hard Orioles fan, Alex is well versed in futility and broken pitching prospects.

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