Let’s go to Game 5… KT wins two straight after losing two straight to NC
Offense awakens as foreign ace recreates ‘devotion’ pitching. The winner of the 2023 KBO playoffs will be determined in the final game. KT (2nd place in the regular season) defeated NC (4th place) 11-2 in Game 4 in Changwon on the 3rd. After dropping Games 1 and 2 at home, KT took Games 3 and 4 on the road to even the best-of-five series. Game 5, with a spot in the Korean Series at stake, will be held at KT Anbang Suwon on Friday.
KT starting pitcher William Cuevas, 33, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after pitching six shutout innings to earn the win.
He allowed just one hit and no walks with a mix of fastballs, cutters, sliders, and changeups that topped out at 150 mph. He struck out three. Cuevas allowed just one runner to advance to first base. He allowed NC’s No. 1 hitter, Son Ah-seop (35), to reach on a fielder’s choice in the first inning, then pitched a no-hitter before giving up his only hit to Son two batters later in the sixth. Cuevas threw 73 pitches. It was a far cry from the seven runs (four earned) in three innings in Game 1 on May 30. 먹튀검증 It was hard to believe that he was back on the mound after only three days of rest.
KT manager Lee Kang-cheol reportedly told Cuevas, who threw 75 pitches in Game 1, to “get ready for Game 4” when he pulled him. For a pitcher, coming back after a short break is always daunting, even if the pitch count isn’t high. But Cuevas was happy to oblige.
Cuevas has a history of putting his body on the line for his team before
In the final game of the 2021 regular season, he picked up a win (7 innings, 2 runs, 12 strikeouts) against NC, and then came back on just two days’ rest to pick up a win (7 innings, no runs, 8 strikeouts) in the ‘first place decider’ against co-leaders Samsung. He also won Game 1 of the Korean Series against Doosan to lead the team to its first championship. Fans nicknamed him “Koo Dong-won” (Cuevas + Choi Dong-won) for his back-to-back performances.
After two years, Cuevas lived up to his nickname as a “big game pitcher” and handed the mound over to Son Dong-hyun (22) in the seventh inning. KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “He pitched so well like an ace. Even with a big lead, he didn’t lose his focus and pitched quickly.” The starting pitcher for Game 5 was not announced.
KT’s offense recorded double-digit hits (14-6) for the first time in the series, including three home runs. They scored two runs in each inning from the first through the fourth to support Cuevas. Seniors Hwang Jae-gyun (36) and Jang Jang-woo (33) hit solo homers in the fourth inning, and Anthony Alford hit a one-run shot in the eighth. Hwang Jae-gyun, who committed errors in Games 1 and 2, atoned for them with two hits on the day.
NC lost its second straight after winning two straight
Starting pitcher Song Myung-ki (four runs in one and one-third innings) fell apart early and lost his groove. The players’ bodies were visibly heavy from playing eight games of “fall baseball,” an all-out war. From the fourth inning of Game 2 to the seventh inning of Game 4, 22 consecutive innings went scoreless. The NC bats, which were silent with one hit until the seventh inning, concentrated their four hits in the eighth inning and finally scored two runs. NC manager Kang Myung-hyun was asked if he would pitch Game 1 winner Eric Peddy in Game 5, saying, “I’m thinking about it because he’s not fully recovered. We’ll check him tomorrow and decide.”
There have been 17 times in the history of the playoffs that a team has won both Games 1 and 2. Fifteen of those times, the team that won Games 1 and 2 went on to win the Korean Series, and there have only been two “reverse sweeps,” where a team won three straight games after losing two. Hyundai accomplished the first in 1996 against the Twins, and SK pulled off the second miracle in 2009 against the Doosan.