Fighting back LG’s Choi Won-tae vs. Streaking KT’s Cuevas
LG Twins’ Choi Won-tae and KT Wiz’s William Cuevas will take the mound in Game 2 of the best-of-seven Korean Series (KS).
LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop and KT manager Lee Kang-cheol announced Choi Won-tae and Cuevas as their starting pitchers for Game 2 after Game 1 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank Throwdown KBO KS at Jamsil Stadium on Sunday. Game 2 will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 8 at the same venue.
In Game 1, KT won 3-2 thanks to Moon Sang-chul’s game-winning double in the ninth inning.
Choi Won-tae’s shoulders are even heavier as LG went directly to KS as the No. 1 team in the regular season and lost the first game. The onus is on him to lead a comeback.
He is the kind of resource that LG, in its quest for the big time, took a chance on hemorrhaging prospects to complement its homegrown starting lineup, 바카라사이트 which was considered a weakness. On July 29, LG traded Lee Ju-hyung and Kim Dong-gyu to the Kiwoom Heroes to bring in Choi Won-tae.
Won tae, who joined the Nexen Heroes in 2015 with the first overall pick, showed improvement by midseason. In 17 games before the trade, he had a respectable 6-4 record with a 3.25 ERA.
After the move to LG, he faltered somewhat. He went 3-3 with a 6.70 ERA in nine games.
Won-tae Choi has a 9-7 record with a 4.30 ERA this season.
He made just one start against KT in the regular season this year, and it was a disappointing one. On September 5, he gave up two runs on five hits (one home run) in three innings with three strikeouts and one walk before being pulled early.
Last year, he made only one appearance against KT and was also shaky, giving up four runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks in two innings.
He wasn’t much better in fall baseball either. In 13 appearances, he went 1-0 with no wins, one save, and three walks, with a 9.50 ERA.
This will be his third time in KS after appearing in 2019 and 2022.
Last year, he pitched out of the bullpen for the KS, going 1-1 with a save in four games, allowing four runs (three earned) in 3⅔ innings. He has bitter memories of giving up a game-tying three-run homer to Kim Kang-min in the ninth inning of KS’s Game 6 against the SSG Landers with Kiwoom leading 4-2.
KT is determined to continue its winning streak with foreign ace Cuevas.
Cuevas is the most reliable pitcher in KT’s starting lineup.
Cuevas, who played for KT from 2019 to 2021, left the KBO early last season due to an elbow injury before returning to KT in June of this year as a replacement foreign pitcher for Bo Schuler.
Cuevas was dominant in his return. He started 18 games and didn’t lose a single one. He won 12 games and posted a 2.60 ERA.
He was even stronger in the fall. In Game 2 of the 2020 Playoffs (PO), he pitched 8⅔ innings of four-hit ball (one home run) with one walk and three runs allowed, and in Game 1 of the 2021 KS against the Doosan Bears, he pitched 7⅔ innings of one-run ball with the majesty of an ace.
It was Cuevas who helped clinch KT’s regular-season title in 2021, throwing 108 pitches in a regular-season game against the NC Dinos on Oct. 28 before returning to the mound for the best-of-seven series against the Samsung Lions on two days’ rest. Cuevas threw 99 pitches in seven innings of no-hit ball to lead the team to the top spot.
He was shaky in Game 1 of the PO against NC this year, allowing seven runs (four earned) on six hits (one home run) with two walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings, but after getting three days of rest, he pitched 6.1 innings of no-hit ball in Game 4, including a no-hitter until the bottom of the sixth inning.
He hasn’t been great against LG this season. In three starts, he’s left without a win. He’s given up 14 runs in 11 innings for an ERA of 11.45.
However, if Cuevas pitches like he did in Game 2 of the PO, KT will be able to head home with two wins on the road.