This article is part of our DraftKings KBO series.
The Bears needed a win in Game 1 of the three-game Playoff Series against the Lions on Tuesday, as they had their only reliable starter, Won Joon Choi, on the mound. Choi wasn't particularly good, leaving after 4.1 innings having allowed two runs on five hits and four walks, but the Bears' bats were able to get the job done, scoring six runs off a trio of pitchers with MLB experience (David Buchanan, Mike Montgomery and Seung Hwan Oh) to secure a 6-4 win.
The Bears can secure their seventh straight Korean Series berth with a win at home Wednesday, though they could face a difficult task given their aforementioned lack of trustworthy pitching. This article will break down the game for DraftKings' showdown contests and the DraftKings Sportsbook. As a reminder, showdown contests require fantasy players to select six total players at any position (including pitcher), with one designated as a captain, who costs 50 percent more but earns 50 percent more points. The prices listed here are given for the utility spots rather than the captain. Lineups must contain at least one player from both teams.
Jung Hyun Baek, Lions ($11,000): Pitchers outscore even the best hitters by a wide enough margin that it's typically correct to pay up for one of them in the captain spot. That only works if they'll be allowed to pitch deep enough into the game to earn a win, however, which may not be the case for Baek in an elimination game, as reports from the Yonhap News Agency indicate he'll be on a short least given the must-win nature of the contest. Of course, if Baek pitches well, the Lions will likely be happy to stick with him, and he has every chance of doing so even against an excellent Bears lineup, as the veteran lefty finished second among all qualified starters with a 2.63 ERA. His underlying numbers don't support a mark that strong, however, as he struck out a below-average 16.8 percent of opposing batters. That lack of whiffs caps his ceiling, while the threat of him being pulled early at the first sign of trouble gives him a low floor, making him a risky captain choice even at pitcher-friendly Jamsil Baseball Stadium.
Min Gyu Kim, Bears ($9,200): While Baek is a risky captain choice, Kim is one who should be written off entirely. He may nominally be the starter, but he's unlikely to be anything more than the first pitcher in a bullpen game and could be pulled after just one frame like he was in his "start" in the previous series against the Twins. He did last longer in the Wild Card Round against the Heroes and in his final regular-season outing against the Landers, but he failed to reach five innings in either appearance. Even if Kim were to be given a traditional starters' workload, he'd be a very poor captain choice, as he owns a 6.07 ERA and 1.63 ERA on the season while spending the bulk of the year in relief, striking out just 13.5 percent of opposing batters.
Lions hitters: The possibility of a quick hook for Baek combined with the fact that the Lions' lineup will get to face a very unreliable starter to kick off a presumed bullpen game mean that this is where I'd be looking for my primary captain choices. You really want a home run from your captain if you're selecting a hitter, and Ja Wook Koo ($10,600), Jose Pirela ($9,400) and Jae Il Oh ($9,000) give you the best shot at that. Oh, a former Bear, is arguably the best choice, as his 25 homers in 120 games led the team on a per-plate-appearance basis. Among the team's cheaper options, Ji Chan Kim ($6,000) is nothing special but is quite cheap for a player who hit second in Game 1, while number eight hitter Hun Gon Kim ($4,000) costs the minimum despite hitting a competent .281/.352/.356 in the regular season.
Bears hitters: The gap between the two starters means I'm far more likely to build a Lions-based lineup Wednesday, but I'd certainly be looking for a hitter as my captain if I wanted to go against the grain and build around the Bears. The fact that Baek is a southpaw makes lefties Jose Fernandez ($9,600) and Jae Hwan Kim ($8,800) slightly less appealing, leaving Suk Hwan Yang ($8,600) and Kun Woo Park ($7,800) as the most interesting captain choices. The Bears also lack true bargains in the starting lineup, with Seung Ho Kang ($6,400) standing as the team's cheapest likely starter.
Lions (-160) and Over 8 runs (+100). You aren't getting a great deal with the Lions here, and playoff baseball can get weird, making any plus money a tempting proposition. That said, I can't in good conscience recommend betting on a team that's starting a pitcher with an ERA north of six, especially with Geon Hui Hong and his 2.79 ERA having already thrown three innings of relief in Tuesday's contest. The Bears' strong lineup should be able to score a handful of runs off Jung Hyun Baek, but I expect the Lions to score several more off Min Gyu Kim and whoever follows him, a group which will likely start with Young Ha Lee, who owns a 6.29 ERA himself.