This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The Dinos evened the Korean Series at 2-2 with their 3-0 Game 4 win Saturday. Pitching ruled the day, with both young starters looking quite good. Min Gyu Kim allowed just one run on four hits in 5.1 innings for the Bears, but he was outdone by his counterpart, Myung Gi Song, who allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings. The Bears managed just three hits all games, all of which came off the bat of shortstop Jae Ho Kim. Game 1 starter Drew Rucinski sealed the deal for the Dinos, throwing 39 pitches to record the final eight outs. That means it'll be Game 2 starter Chang Mo Koo starting this one for the Dinos, with Rucinski potentially available for Game 6.
We'll see a rematch between Koo and Chris Flexen in this one, which comes with another set of Showdown contests on DraftKings. For Showdown games, you'll select six players in any combination of pitchers and hitters. One player will be designated as your "Captain," who will cost 1.5 times as much as the rest of your team but who will also earn 1.5 times as many points as your other players. Lineups must contain at least one player from each team. You are under no obligation to select a pitcher, though you could even theoretically attempt to squeeze in both starters.
I'll be shaking up the format for these previews to account for the unique nature of the Showdown format. I'll present a quick breakdown of both pitchers, followed by a pair of high-priced hitters from the team I'd rather build around as well as a few bargain bats to consider from both teams. The prices listed for each player are their price if used in the UTIL slot.
Chang Mo Koo, Dinos ($11,600): Koo was quite clearly the best pitcher in the league early in the season, as he roared out of the gate to post a 1.55 ERA and 0.82 WHIP over his first 13 starts. He went down with a forearm injury in late July, however, and missed nearly three months. The young lefty returned to action in late October for a pair of appearances, allowing three runs on four hits over 6.1 innings of work but striking out just three batters, quite a low total considering he posted a 27.3 percent strikeout rate on the season. After a few more weeks to continue building up, he threw a full 100 pitches over six innings in Game 2 of the Korean Series, and while he didn't quite match his early-season dominance, he had a solid outing, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out seven and walking two.
Chris Flexen, Bears ($10,200): While Koo dominated the early part of the season, Flexen was the story of the stretch run. After returning from a broken foot in early September, he closed the season with a 2.05 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP and 12.5 K/9 over his final nine starts. His last four were even better, as he allowed just a single run while posting a 38:3 K:BB. The righty carried that momentum into the playoffs, posting a 1.21 ERA through 22.1 innings. In some respects, his Game 2 win over the Dinos was his least convincing performance in quite some time, as he struck out just three batters while walking three, but he still held the league's best offense to just one run in six innings.
Verdict: Lean Dinos, but it's incredibly close. I advocated for a Bears-based lineup when this pair faced off in Game 2, based primarily on the fact that we hadn't seen enough from Koo yet in his return from injury. We saw just enough from him in that contest that I'm willing to lean his way, due in part to the fact that he faces a slightly weaker lineup and will get the platoon advantage against most of the Bears' best hitters. It's hard to argue against building a lineup around Flexen given the way he ended his season, though, so either direction is quite justifiable here.
Sung Bum Na ($8,800): Na is the Dinos' best left-handed hitter, so we'll almost certainly want to feature him in lineups against the right-handed Flexen. While he did go hitless against Flexen in Game 2, he's had a solid Korean Series overall, going 7-for-16 (.438) with a homer and five RBI. The number three hitter finished fourth among qualified hitters with a .989 OPS and third in the league with 34 homers, so it's no surprise to see him performing at a high level against top-tier pitching in the playoffs.
Min Woo Park ($7,400): If you want to select either pitcher in this contest, and especially if you want to select them as your captain, your budget will be quite tight. With that in mind, I've skipped the excellent but expensive Eui Ji Yang ($9,000) here in favor of a lesser but still strong teammate who will get the platoon advantage against the Bears' ace. Park doesn't have much power, homering just eight times, but he has few equals in the KBO in terms of his ability to make contact and get on base, hitting .345/.402/.475 during the regular season. He's gone a modest 4-for-15 (.267) thus far in the postseason, but he's reached base an additional four times on walks.
Chang Min Mo, Dinos ($5,400): The Dinos made a pair of changes for their Game 4 lineup, bringing in Mo and Suk Hoon Ji in place of Hee Dong Kwon and Suk Min Park. It's somewhat difficult to predict which of the team's budget options will be in the lineup this time around, but if it's the same pair as last time, I like Mo a whole lot more than the minimum-priced Ji, a 36-year-old with a career .634 OPS and a .598 mark this season. While there's a case to be made for dipping down to Ji's level for budget reasons, Mo is a legitimately good hitter and a much more appealing option. He was the Dinos' Opening Day first baseman before suffering an early injury and losing his job to Jin Sung Kang's breakout, but he still hit .301/.340/.449 in 149 plate appearances.
Jae Ho Kim, Bears ($6,800): One reason to build a Dinos-based lineup in this contest is that the Bears are strangely expensive. Kim is likely to be the Bears' cheapest starter, but he'll come in more expensive than at least four starting Dinos. While he's not particularly cheap overall, he counts as cheap here given that you're required to roster at least one Bear. The 35-year-old shortstop isn't a particularly exciting player, as he posted a modest .707 OPS during the regular season, though he was perfectly adequate at the plate outside of the power department, hitting .289/.362/.346. He's been strangely hot during the Korean Series, going 7-for-11 with six RBI.