Your ace in the hole is finally here… NC Pedi’s Fall Begins
After dominating the regular season, ace Eric Peddie (30-NC Dinos) will finally be seen in the postseason.
Pedi has been named the starting pitcher for Game 1 of the best-of-five (PO) playoffs between NC and KT Wiz at Suwon Stadium on April 30. “For now, if there are no changes, Pedi can pitch in Game 1,” NC head coach Kang Myung-ho said after the team clinched a spot in the PO with a win in the third game of the semifinals against SSG Landers on the 25th.
The clue to ‘if there is no change’ is that there have been many unexpected circumstances.
Pedi is arguably the best ace in the KBO. With a 20-6 record and a 2.00 ERA in 30 games this year, he has won the pitching triple crown, leading the league in wins, ERA, 먹튀검증 and strikeouts (209). He also became the first pitcher in 37 years to record 20 wins and 200 strikeouts in a single season since Sun Dong-yeol of the 1986 Hattae Tigers (24 wins, 214 strikeouts).
Even when NC qualified for the postseason, no one questioned his role as the No. 1 starter.
But with fall baseball just around the corner, the injury bug bites.
In his last start of the season against the KIA Tigers on October 16, Pedi was hit in the right forearm by a hard-hit pitch from Ko Jong-wook. The hit to his throwing arm made it difficult for him to pitch for a while.
As a result, NC, which finished the regular season in fourth place, left Pedi out of the lineup for the Wild Card Decision Game (WC) against the Doosan Bears.
For the SSG and Semi-Po, they added him back to the roster. However, Pedi did not take the mound in the Semi-Finals.
“Pedi will start Game 3,” Kang announced before Game 2 of the Semi-Finals, but retracted the announcement after the game. “After training today, he expressed discomfort in his arm and was diagnosed with simple impingement syndrome at a hospital checkup,” he said, adding, “It’s difficult for him to pitch in Game 3.”
NC then planned to use Pedi in Game 4 of the Semi-Phase, but the team did not end up using him as NC punched their ticket to the POs with three straight wins. “He was preparing for tomorrow’s game,” Kang said after the third quarterfinal.
This means that he will no longer have to deal with the aftermath of his injury. Without Pedi, NC defeated Doosan and SSG in back-to-back games, but it didn’t completely erase the anxiety about the starting mound.
Foreigner Tanner Tully, who started Game 3 of the WC and Semifinals, struggled in Game 2, giving up 10 runs on 12 hits (2 home runs) in 6 innings with 6 walks and 2 strikeouts. Song Myung-ki, who started Game 2 of the semifinals, gave up two runs on two hits (one home run) in three innings with three walks and four strikeouts.
With Pedi’s ‘overwhelming’ performance as a pitcher, the weight of the NC mound will be different when he returns. Even as a KT facing the NC, Pedi is the most burdened.
However, the practical sense is a concern.
Pedi hasn’t played since the 16th. He will take about two weeks off before the first round of the PO on the 30th. The fact that it will be his first match in a long time could also weigh heavily on his shoulders.
“I don’t think it’s going to feel right, but I’m going to try to pitch out of the bullpen because I have time. It will be difficult at the beginning of the game, but I think I’ll get the hang of it after one inning,” Kang said.