KT Wiz manager Lee Kang-cheol (57) was desperate to score a run.
After losing the first and second games of the best-of-five playoffs (PO), KT arrived at Changwon NC Park, where the PO Game 3 will be held on the 2nd, in a precarious position.
“I’m confident in the bullpen,” said Lee Kang-cheol, “and our bats are getting better, so I hope we can start the game with a lead today.”
In the first and second games of the POs at home, KT gave up early runs to NC and had to play catch-up.
The KT bullpen pitched 10 innings in POs 1 and 2 with 8 hits and 2 runs (1.80 ERA). This is significantly better than the NC bullpen (5⅔ innings, 11 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned runs, 7.94 ERA).
However, KT’s Game 1 and Game 2 starters William Cuevas (3 innings, 6 hits, 7 runs, 4 earned runs) and Wes Benjamin (5 innings, 4 hits, 3 earned runs) both pitched below expectations.
“In both Game 1 and Game 2, our hitters’ senses came alive in the second half of the game,” said Lee Kang-cheol, “and I hope we can score early in the game today.”
The starting lineup for Game 3 was the same as Game 2: Kim Sang-soo (shortstop), Hwang Jae-gyun (third base), Anthony Alford (left field), Park Byung-ho (first base), Jang Jang-woo (catcher), Moon Sang-cheol (designated hitter), Cho Myeong-ho (right field), Cho Jae-dae (center field), and Park Kyung-soo (second base).
“It’s the best combination we have right now,” Lee said, adding, “We need the existing players to perform.” He wished the batters well.
The role of starter Ko Young-pyo is also important.
Ko has 17 quality starts (7+ innings, 3 earned runs or less) in the regular season this year.
He leads the league in this category. His 21 quality starts (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less) were tied for second.
In the regular season this year, Ko is 12-7 with a 2.78 ERA.
He also pitched well against NC, going 2-1 with a 3.55 ERA in four games.
However, he was vulnerable to Park Min-woo (13-for-9 with three RBIs), Park Gun-woo (13-for-8 with one home run and three RBIs), and Son Ah-seop (11-for-4).
“Ko Young-pyo struggled against NC 1-3 in the regular season, but he didn’t collapse against NC,” Lee said, adding, “He’s always given us more than six innings, so I hope he can hold up well today.”
In the bullpen battle, KT may have the edge.
Lee said, “(Core bullpen) Son Dong-hyun and Park Young-hyun are in good shape. Closer Kim Jae-yoon is also well-prepared,” Lee said, adding, “If we can control the bullpen, we have a chance to win.”
“If we win today, we won’t lose the fourth game,” he said, expressing his determination to take PO to the fifth game. 무료슬롯게임