NC Dinos and KT Wiz will play the fourth game of the playoffs (best-of-five, best-of-three) at Changwon NC Park on April 4. Both NC, who won six straight games from the Wild Card Decider to PO 2, and KT, who suffered a blow in PO 3 on the 2nd, are in desperate need of a win after two straight losses.
NC took both the first and second games of PO 1 in enemy territory before losing the third game, which halted their good momentum. The biggest worry is that the batting lineup, which showed tremendous explosiveness until PO 1, went cold, scoring only three runs in game 2 and none in game 3 (0-3 loss). KT managed to turn things around by minimizing bullpen usage, as domestic ace Ko Young-pyo pitched six scoreless innings in Game 3.
NC will start Myung-ki Song (23) and KT will start William Cuevas (33). Song Myung-ki will take the mound after 10 days of rest following his Semi-Po Game 2 start against SSG Landers on October 23 (two runs in three innings), while Cuevas will return to the mound after three days of rest following his start in Game 1 of the PO on October 30, where he threw 75 pitches. “Cuevas didn’t throw many pitches in Game 1, so I told him to prepare for Game 4 right away,” KT manager Lee Kang-cheol explained.
In three games against KT this season, Song is winless with one loss and a 4.76 ERA. In his two starts, he went 1-1 with one quality start (QS – six or more innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed). The team will need to take full advantage of the 10 days of rest and minimize bullpen usage. “We decided that Song Myung-ki’s physical condition is not bad,” explained NC manager Kang In-hwa. 무지개토토
Cuevas will take the mound on just three days’ rest. With 12 wins and a 2.60 ERA in 18 regular-season games, he has a slight edge in the matchup. However, the analysis is that he needs to look for a different direction from his October 30 PO Game 1 outing, in which he gave up seven runs (four earned) on six hits, one home run, two walks and two strikeouts in three innings. “On paper, Cuevas has the edge,” Lee said, explaining that he “checked the things that didn’t work in Game 1 and delivered.”
NC is determined to win the series as they can completely take over the game if it goes to Game 5. The other team’s cycle has also dropped, which is why they need to end the series quickly. KT is hoping that Cuevas will make up for his poor performance in Game 1 with a win. This will make his mound management easier in the future.