Is the universe conspiring against the LG Twins, who are trying to win their first Korean Series title in 29 years. The playoffs are headed to Game 5, which is the scenario LG hopes for. LG manager Yeom Kyung-yeop is smiling.
If the “LG killer” pitchers, Benjamin (KT) and Pedi (NC), make it to Game 5 of the playoffs, they will likely only pitch in Game 3 if they make it to the Korean Series. The odds are in LG’s favor.굿모닝토토
KT won the fourth game of the playoffs against NC at Changwon NC Park on Wednesday, 11-2. After dropping Games 1 and 2, KT won Games 3 and 4 to even the series at 2-2. The winner of Game 5 punched their ticket to the Korean Series.
NC, who made it all the way to the playoffs from the wild card round, won both Games 1 and 2 away from home. In Game 1, ace Pedi made his first postseason start of the year and pitched a dominant six innings of one-run ball. The team’s offense exploded for 13 hits in a 9-5 victory. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Yoo Yong-chan came in with the bases loaded and the score 9-1 and gave up a grand slam to Choi Jae-dae.
In game two, NC pitcher Shin Min-hyuk earned the win with an unexpected 6⅓ innings of one-hit, one-strikeout ball. NC scored three runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run by Park Gun-woo, to win 3-2.
With a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth, Lee Yong-chan faced runners on first and third with no outs, but did not allow the tying run to score. With the bases loaded, shortstop Kim Joo-won made a diving catch for the final out.
In Games 3 and 4, which were moved to Changwon, KT fought back. In Game 3, native ace Ko Young-pyo shut down the NC bats with a six-inning, three-hit shutout. A two-run homer by Choi Jae-dae in the second and a solo shot by Moon Sang-chul in the seventh sealed the 3-0 victory.
NC won the wild-card decider against Doosan, three straight semifinal games against SSG, and two straight playoff games against KT to tie the 2020 Korean Series record for most consecutive postseason wins (nine).
In Game 4, Cuevas pitched six innings of one-hit ball on three days’ rest. He avenged a seven-run (four earned) loss in three innings in Game 1. The KT bats exploded in the first inning, bombarding the NC mound with 14 hits, three home runs, and 11 runs. In the third game, NC was scoreless until the seventh inning and scored two runs in the eighth inning, narrowly escaping a 22-inning scoreless streak.
At the start of the playoffs between KT and NC, coach Yeom Kyung-yeop expressed his hope that “no matter who wins, I want it to go to Game 5.”
After NC swept Games 1 and 2 to extend their postseason winning streak to six games this year, Yeom expected a KT comeback, saying, “The tide could change in November,” but the clutching KT won Games 3 and 4. The tide was now slightly in KT’s favor.
LG was 10-6 against KT this season, and 6-10 against them in the NC. LG gave their all against KT, who had risen to second place in the second half of the season, and had a lot of strange games against NC.
As the playoffs progressed to Game 5, not only were there physical issues, but the pitchers of the ‘LG nemesis’ also came up short. Benjamin and Pedi will likely start Game 5.
Benjamin has been a nemesis against LG this year, going 4-0 with a 0.84 ERA in five starts. He has allowed nine runs (three earned) in 32 1/3 innings.
On April 1, he pitched six innings of two-hit ball and one run (no decision), on May 16, he pitched six innings of five-hit ball and five runs (one earned), on July 5, he pitched 5⅓ innings of four-hit ball and two runs (one earned), on July 25, he pitched eight innings of three-hit ball, and on September 6, he pitched seven innings of five-hit ball and one run in a no-decision.
After Game 4 on November 3, NC head coach Kang Myung-hyun was asked about starting Game 5 and said, “My pedicure is not 100%. I’m thinking about it. Shin Min-hyuk is not bad either. I’ll check their physical condition tomorrow and decide.” Even if Pedi doesn’t start Game 5, he could be used in the bullpen in the interim.
Peddy is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts against LG (17 innings, 5 runs, 4 earned). Peddy has allowed two runs or less in all three games. On April 19, he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits in five innings of a no-decision; on June 3, he allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of a win; and on August 25, he allowed one run on three hits in seven innings of a win.
Pedi finished the regular season with a 20-6 record, a 2.00 ERA and 209 strikeouts, becoming the first pitcher in 37 years to reach the 20-win + 200-strikeout milestone. He took time to recover from a full-body contusion after being hit in the right arm by a pitch in the season finale against the KIA on Oct. 16. He pitched six innings of one-run baseball in Game 1 of the playoffs on October 30, but he threw a lot of innings this season (180⅓ innings) and appeared to be slow to recover from a nagging injury.