After losing the first and second games of the 2023 KBO League Playoffs (best-of-three series), KT escaped the cliff by winning the third game away from home. In order to turn the game around, KT played a ‘game-changing’ move. It was the early introduction of Game 1 starter William Cuevas. On the other hand, NC, who still had one game in hand, chose to go with the “fair play” method of using their scheduled homegrown starters rather than the gamble of pulling Pedi, who was the Game 1 starter, early. It will be interesting to see how the two managers’ staggered choices will affect the playoffs.
KT and NC will play the fourth game of the playoffs at Changwon NC Park on April 3.
After losing the first and second games at home in Suwon, KT manager Lee Kang-cheol, who rebounded to win the third game, will start Cuevas, who started the first game. Lee, who announced Cuevas as the starter for Game 4 after Game 3, said, “The decision to start Cuevas for Game 4 was not an impromptu one. After Game 1, I told him, ‘I’m going to pitch him in Game 4,’ and he was OK with it.”
Cuevas, who joined the KT roster in June as a substitute foreign player this season, has pitched in 18 regular-season games, going 12-0 with a 2.60 ERA. It is no exaggeration to say that Cuevas’ arrival played a crucial role in KT’s comeback from the bottom of the standings in late May to finish second in the regular season.
Cuevas, who had a 100 percent win percentage, suffered his first loss of the season in the first round of the playoffs on March 30, the most important game of the season, giving up seven runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks in three innings. He didn’t get any help from his defense, as evidenced by the three unearned runs, but he was basically beaten up by NC hitters.
After throwing 75 pitches in Game 1, Cuevas is coming off just three days of rest. While this might seem like a bit of a stretch, Cuevas is no stranger to pitching on short rest. Cuevas also pitched when KT won the 2021 regular season and Korean Series in a sweep. At the time, KT and Samsung had the same winning percentage in the regular season and had to use a “tiebreaker” to determine the top spot in the regular season. Manager Lee Kang-cheol chose Cuevas, who had only rested two days after throwing 108 pitches, to start the tiebreaker. Cuevas didn’t let up in his start against Won Tae-in, throwing 99 pitches over seven innings, giving up one hit and striking out eight to lead KT to victory. Thanks to Cuevas’ performance, KT advanced directly to the Korean Series.
His Game 4 start will be a lot less intense than his previous outing, and he’ll have an extra day of rest. If Cuevas can replicate his 2021 tiebreaker, KT could take Game 4 and push the series to a fifth game, looking for a reverse sweep.
NC head coach Kang Myung-ho was also interested in whether Pedi, who won the “Triple Crown” of wins (20), ERA (2.00), and strikeouts (209) in the regular season, would be used in Game 4, but Kang opted for fifth-year starter Song Myung-ki. “I thought it would be unreasonable to pitch Pedi on only three days’ rest, so I sent out Song Myung-ki,” Kang said after Game 3. 아톰카지노 도메인
It makes sense for NC, who still has a one-game lead.If they catch Cuevas with the Song Myung-gi card and end the series in Game 4, they can use Pedi as their starting card in Game 1 of the Korean Series against LG. Even if you lose Game 4, you can use Pedi in Game 5. NC will have an advantage over KT in Game 5 because they will have five days off after Game 1.
Lee Kang-cheol, who is trailing in the series, threw a bold game, while Kang Shin-ho, who is still ahead by one game, chose to play it safe. It will be interesting to see how the two managers’ conflicting choices will affect the playoffs.