NC on the verge of a reverse sweep after two straight wins, then two straight losses

Baseball is a sport of flow. If you ride the flow, you can produce results that make objective power or data laugh at you. In the playoffs, KT manager Lee Kang-cheol came up with a ‘trick’ by starting William Cuevas in Game 1 after three days of rest, but NC manager Kang Myung-hyun’s choice was to start Song Myung-ki in Game 4 instead of Eric Peddie in Game 1. Kang’s choice, which can be said to be the ‘logical’ and ‘correct’ one for a team with a 2-1 lead, failed.

The tide has now turned in favor of KT. Even if NC’s Game 5 starter is Eric Pedroia, the “Triple Crown” winner who led the regular season in wins (20), ERA (2.00), and strikeouts (209), there’s no guarantee they’ll win. That’s why the Game 4 blowout was so painful.

NC went 0-11 in the fourth game of the 2023 KBO League Playoffs (best-of-five) at Changwon NC Park after the entire pitching staff, from starter Song Myung-ki to relievers, struggled. NC, which had won six straight games this postseason, including the wild-card decider and the semifinals, dropped Games 1 and 2 on the road and Game 3 and 4 at home to tie the series at 2-2. In the 32 best-of-three playoffs, only Ssangbangul (1996) and Doosan (2009) are the only teams to have taken Games 1 and 2 and dropped Games 3, 4, and 5. NC is in danger of becoming the third victim.

Manager Kang Myung-ho’s choice not to start Pedi in Game 4 was a no-brainer. Pedi was hit in the right forearm by a batted ball against KIA on March 16 and missed the wild-card deciding game and the semifinals. In his return to the mound in Game 1 of the playoffs on March 30, he pitched six innings of one-run ball with a fastball that topped 150 mph and a sharp sweeper as his primary weapon, but it was probably too much to ask of him on three days’ rest. Moreover, taking Game 4 without Pedi would have set the stage for him to start Game 1 of the Korean Series against LG.

However, it was a different story in Game 4, as Song Myung-ki collapsed after 1.1 innings of four-run ball, and subsequent pitchers were roughed up by KT hitters, giving up double-digit runs. Even if Pedi is the best pitcher in the KBO this season beyond the NC, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be able to completely shut down KT in Game 5. Moreover, KT’s bats exploded in Game 4, signaling that they were back to full strength.

“Today was a complete loss in all aspects of the game,” Kang said after the game.

When asked about the starting lineup for Game 5, Kang hinted that it might not be Pedi. He said, “I’m thinking about it because Pedi’s physical 바카라사이트 condition is not 100% recovered. Also, Shin Min-hyuk, who started Game 2, is not feeling well. We’ll check their physical condition and decide tomorrow.”

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