IMG 4967

IMG 4967

Sitting a 1.5 GB of the 5th place Kia Tigers, with only four games remaining in the regular season, it’s now or never for the Dinos. Luckily for them, import Drew Rucinski is on the bump, carrying a 3.07 ERA on the season. This season, Rucinski has been a strikeout machine; his 186 strikeouts are good enough for second-best in the entire league. If SSG has one offensive weakness, it’s the strikeout.

SSG will rest a good chunk of their players and relievers in this matchup, as they’ve already clinched the first overall seed for the KBO playoffs. Even if we see some of SSG’s “A” bullpen, they aren’t great overall; they win through offense, and they’ve already announced multiple starters are resting. Juan Lagares is one of the starters who will be resting, which is enormous for the Dinos as he’s been their best hitter.

The Dinos have been one of, if not the best, team in the KBO in the second half of the season. Their veteran bats have returned from suspension and seamlessly integrated into the lineup. Nick Martini has been on fire in his first KBO season, especially of late; he has six multi-hit games in his last 12.

SSG will be going with an opener and attempting a bullpen game, and with their suspect pen, I give a significant advantage to SSG in the latter half of this game. NC has debatably the best closer in the league with Yong-chan Lee, who carries more strikeouts than innings on the year. This one could get ugly for SSG if their bullpen can’t keep up with Rucinski.

You’ll not often see SSG sitting at (+185) on the money line. The Landers’ extremely long odds would scare most bettors off this matchup. I see the 6th place Dinos sitting at (-225), and my contrarian brain’s first thought is that NC is this much of a favorite for a reason. With SSG already locked into first place, NC needing a win to remain alive, Rucinski, on the mound, back the Dinos to win big on Thursday morning.

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