KT WIZ head coach Lee Kang-cheol was pleased with his veteran infielders’ performance in Game 3, saying, “They seem to have found their groove,” after committing crucial errors in Games 1 and 2 of the playoffs (PO).
He also did not hide his belief that the veteran infielders will make a turning point in this fall’s stage.
“If inexperienced players made such mistakes, they might not be able to overcome them and collapse, but our players didn’t mind at all,” Lee said ahead of the visiting NC Dinos in the fourth game of the 2023 Baseball PO at Changwon NC Park on Wednesday. I think it’s the power of experience,” he said.
KT third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun failed to catch an ordinary floated ball in the first inning, which led to a run, and in the second inning, first basemen Park Byung-ho and Hwang Jae-gyun made crucial errors.
The mound was shaken by a series of errors by the infielders, and the two PO games were lost.
However, the two players played well together in the third inning of the second day’s PO.
Ko Young-pyo, a groundball-inducing pitcher, trusted the infield defense and threw his pitches to his heart’s content.
“I felt that the infielders had recovered their sense of play,” said Lee Kang-chul, “and if the younger players had made such mistakes, we would have had to replace them.”
He also said, “Hwang Jae-gyun didn’t care. He didn’t even seem to be sorry,” he chuckled.
He praised the veteran infielders for putting the mistake out of their minds and focusing on the game.
However, the veteran second baseman, Park Kyung-soo, who had made several errors the day before, was left out of the starting lineup. Instead, Oh Yoon-seok was inserted.
“Park complained of pain in both legs after yesterday’s game,” said Lee Kang-cheol, “but he’s good enough to play defense later in the game.”
KT won the previous day to take a 1-0 lead in the PO, but they are still in a precarious position. If they lose today’s game, they will be eliminated.
KT started foreign pitcher William Cuevas, who started Game 1, in Game 4 of the PO. Cuevas will start again after taking just three days off.
Manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “We haven’t set a limit on the number of pitches he can throw,” adding, “He’ll be responsible for about four innings.”
When asked if he had a long-relief pitcher ready in case Cuevas left early, Lee replied, “I don’t have one. We have to utilize our best pitchers again.”
That means the core bullpen of Son Dong-hyun, Park Young-hyun, and Kim Jae-yoon will be in action again today.
He also praised designated hitter Moon Sang-chul, who has been hitting for the cycle.
In Game 1, Moon hit a home run off opposing ace Eric Peddy, and in Game 2, he was the only KT hitter to produce a hit off opposing starter Shin Min-hyuk.
And in Game 3, he hit a game-winning solo home run.
“I had a feeling for designated hitters like Lee Ho-yeon and Kim Min-hyuk, but Moon Sang-chul didn’t have a bad record against Pedi in Game 1, so I put him in the lineup,” Lee said. “He hit well in Game 1, so I’m continuing to utilize him.”
“He didn’t have a great game against Song Myung-ki today, but he’s been hitting well lately, so we put him in the leadoff spot again.”
Moon will start in the No. 6 spot.
“It was my mistake,” Lee said, referring to the situation where he instructed Moon to bunt the day before, which ended in nothing.
“I tried to bunt well in training, but it didn’t work out as I thought,” he said, adding, “We’ll see what happens in today’s game.”
KT batted shortstop Kim Sang-soo at first, followed by Hwang Jae-gyun (third base), Anthony Alford (left field), Park Byung-ho (first base), and Jang Jang-woo (catcher).
Oh Yun-seok (second base), Choi Jae-dae (center field), and Choi Soo-ho (right field) will bat seventh through ninth. 슬롯게이밍