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Now that fans in the United States have had one week of getting to know the teams and players who make up the KBO, the second week of the regular season is an opportunity to settle in to the action on the baseball diamond.
ESPN’s first week of broadcasting KBO games has been a rousing success. The combination of announcers providing unique insight and American-born stars who once played in South Korea has made it easy to dig into the league.
Here’s a look ahead at this week’s television schedule for KBO baseball.
2020 KBO TV Schedule and Viewing Information (May 12-17)
May 12: KT Wiz vs. NC Dinos (live at 5:30 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 2 p.m. ET)
May 13: SK Wyverns vs. LG Twins (live at 5:30 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 2 p.m. ET)
May 14: SK Wyverns vs. LG Twins (live at 5:30 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 2 p.m. ET)
May 15: Doosan Bears vs. KIA Tigers (live at 5:30 a.m. ET; rebroadcast at 2 p.m. ET)
May 16: Doosan Bears vs. KIA Tigers (live at 4 a.m. ET on ESPN)
May 17: Kiwoom Heroes vs. LG Twins (live at 4 a.m. ET on ESPN)
Network: All games broadcast on ESPN2 unless otherwise noted
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Odds to Win KBO Title in 2020 (via Caesars Palace)
Doosan Bears (+350; bet $100 to win $350)
NC Dinos (+450)
SK Wyverns (+450)
Kiwoom Heroes (+500)
LG Twins (+1000)
Lotte Giants (+1000)
KIA Tigers (+1200)
Samsung Lions (+1200)
Hanwha Eagles (+1600)
KT Wiz (+2000)
Matchup of the Week
Kiwoom Heroes vs. LG Twins
Going over the early season odds to win the KBO title, the Lotte Giants have defied expectations thus far. They are the only undefeated team after the first week (5-0), with the Kiwoom Heroes currently in second place with five wins in six games.
The Heroes offense hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in 2020 despite the loss of Jerry Sands. The 32-year-old led the league with 113 RBI and finished in the top 10 in on-base percentage (.396), slugging percentage (.543) and homers (28).
Sands signed with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan last December.
The Heroes have been held under five runs once and have scored a total of 35 runs through their first six games.
One reason Kiwoom hasn’t skipped a beat is because of the early season performance of Lee Jung-hoo. The 21-year-old has put up a robust .421/.542/.895 slash line with twice as many extra-base hits (four) as strikeouts (two) in 19 at-bats.
Lee has been a good hitter throughout his career with OPS totals over .800 in each of the previous three seasons, but this could be a breakout year for the son of former KBO MVP Lee Jong-beom.
The Twins got off to a slow start with three losses in their first four games, but Sunday got them on track in dramatic fashion. After spotting the NC Dinos a 6-0 lead in the first inning, LG chipped away with three runs through the sixth.
In the seventh inning, the floodgates opened for the Twins with seven runs to score a 10-8 victory. Pitching has been a problem early this season for LG, which has allowed 35 runs in four games since an 8-2 win over the Doosan Bears in the opener.
If the Twins hope to make the playoffs for the second consecutive year after missing out in 2017 and 2018, they will need more consistent output from their starters. A matchup against the powerful Kiwoom lineup will be a good test for them.
This is also a rematch from last year’s postseason when Kiwoom beat LG in the semi-playoff series 3-1 to advance to the playoff.