“I think we played like a team,” said KT WIZ manager Lee Kang-cheol, who survived the cliffhanger.
After winning 3-0 in the third game of the 2023 Baseball Playoffs (best-of-three PO-5) at Changwon NC Park on the 2nd, Lee said, “Starter Ko Young-pyo pitched well to win the game early, and Son Dong-hyun, Park Young-hyun, and Kim Jae-yoon continued the flow.” “In the batting lineup, the team’s mood almost dropped as the scoring opportunity in the first inning was wasted, but we were able to overcome the difficult situation with a two-run home run by Choi Jae-dae.” Lee reflected.
“(First baseman) Park Byung-ho did a great job, and catcher Jang Jang-woo also made an important steal (in the sixth inning),” he added.
KT suffered back-to-back losses in the first and second games of the PO due to shaky mound and defense.
The veteran bats faltered, missing easy hits in every game, and the center fielders threw cold water on every scoring opportunity.
However, in this game, every player played with focus.
“We have a lot of good bullpen pitchers and our defense settles down when we get ahead in the game,” Lee said, “I think we played the baseball we played in the regular season.”
He also explained why he chose foreign pitcher William Cuevas to start Game 4.
Cuevas, who started Game 1 of the POs, will be back in action after just three days of rest.
“After losing the second game of the PO, we didn’t think twice and told Cuevas to prepare for the fourth game,” Lee said. “We also looked at his pitch count (75 pitches) and made a quick change.”
“Cuevas said ‘okay’ right away,” he added.
Lee was confident. “Cuevas had some things that he checked (in Game 1),” Lee said, “and if we can improve on those things, we’ll have an advantage.”
“I’ve been resting a lot, but I just went with the flow,” he said of closer Kim Jae-yoon, who allowed one hit on the day but closed out the final out of the ninth inning. “I saw him pitching and felt okay, and I thought he was going to be good enough to throw his stuff.”
He also praised Moon Sang-chul, who hit a wedge home run. “He seems to be hitting well,” Lee said, “and he’s doing a good job.”
Park Byung-ho and Anthony Alford, who remained silent, said, “Not all players can be good,” and that “we need to create scoring opportunities in front of hitters who are in good shape.”
“It’s unfortunate that Kim Min-hyuk (who injured a muscle in the back of his thigh) won’t be starting,” he added.
With a 1-2 record in the PO, KT will play the fourth game of the PO at the same venue on Wednesday. KT needs to win both Game 4 and Game 5 to advance to the Korean Series. 파워볼사이트