With the NC Dinos batting struggling, it will be interesting to see if manager Kang In-hwa will make any changes to the batting order.
Since the second round of the playoffs (PO-5 best-of-three), NC’s batting has gone downhill.
A red-hot batting lineup was the driving force behind NC’s six-game sweep from the wild-card decider to the second round of the PO.
In the wild-card decider against the Doosan Bears, they pounded out 12 hits, including three home runs, in a 14-9 win.
In the best-of-three semifinal series against SSG Landers, they scored 18 runs in three games. In the third game of the semifinals, he gave up five runs in the top of the second inning to fall behind 3-5, but immediately responded with four runs, including a game-winning three-run shot by Jason Martin, to win the game 7-6.
The hot streak continued in the first game of the POs against KT Wiz. NC’s firepower wore down Cuevas, who gave up seven runs (four earned) on six hits (one home run) in three innings.
However, a downward spiral began in Game 2 of the POs. After scoring three runs in the third inning, he struggled. Their only hit after the fourth inning was a double by Park Gun-woo in the eighth.
In the third and fourth games of the PO, they struggled even more. KT starter Ko Young-pyo struggled to hit Cuevas.굿모닝토토
In Game 3, he managed only five scattered hits and lost 0-3. He hit .343 against Cuevas in the regular season this year, but didn’t have a strong showing.
Park Min-woo and Park Gun-woo, who batted .692 (9-for-13) and .615 (8-for-13) respectively against Ko in the regular season, were also silent.
Cuevas started Game 4 on three days’ rest, but the NC bats struggled. They were shut out until the bottom of the sixth inning with a no-hitter.
Hitting goes in cycles, and after a volcanic start, the NC bats went into a downward spiral. The physical strain of playing in the wild-card game also contributed to the decline.
“Considering we were battling for position at the end of the regular season, it was practically like playing the PS for a month,” Kang said. My batting has been on the rise since the beginning of October, but there are cycles in batting, and I’m currently in a bit of a slump,” he analyzed.
Kang, who said after Game 3 of the POs that he would “look at the batting order as a whole and think about it,” showed his mettle in Game 4 with an unchanged batting order.
“I thought about it, but I decided that the players who were in the starting lineup were in much better shape than the others,” he explained.
However, the team still failed to come alive.
It’s possible that Kang will tinker with the batting order, which hasn’t changed much since the wild-card game, in an attempt to revitalize the lineup.
The most interesting question is whether he will continue to use Martin in the No. 4 spot.
Martin, who continues to bat fourth, has struggled mightily in the postseason. After batting .333 (12-for-4) with one home run, five RBIs, and a 1.096 OPS in three semi-postseason games, he went 0-for-14 in Game 4.
Eventually, Kang pulled Martin from the lineup in the top of the fifth inning in Game 4.
After Game 4, Kang commented on the possible change in Martin’s lineup, saying, “I felt that his fatigue was high, and I felt that he was not in a good shape to face the pitcher at the plate. I thought it was a good idea to give him a break,” Kang said. “We’ll see how he feels and decide whether to include him in the starting lineup for Game 5 or bring in a new player.”