LG dropped Game 1 due to a silent batting lineup
Despite a strong performance from ace Casey Kelly, LG dropped Game 1 due to a silent batting lineup and poor performance from closer Go Woo-seok. Game 2 starter Choi Won-tae’s shoulders are heavier than ever.
LG lost the first game of the best-of-seven Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Korean Series 2023 to KT, 2-3, at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on April 7. Kelly pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts, but the offense couldn’t get going. With the score tied at 2-2 in the ninth inning, reliever Ko Woo-seok gave up the game-winning double to Moon Sang-chul.
After dropping the first game with a 74.4 percent chance of winning, LG will have their hands full in the second game of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium on April 8. If they drop Game 2, the series will tilt sharply in KT’s favor. Until last year, 먹튀검증토토사이트 a team that won both Game 1 and Game 2 of the Korean Series had a 90% (18/20) chance of winning. On the other hand, a team that loses two games in a row has only a 10% chance of winning.
LG’s must-win Game 2 starter is right-hander Choi Won-tae. Choi Won-tae was the game-changer that LG acquired in a trade to win the Korean Series. On July 29, the team sent outfielder Lee Ju-hyung, pitcher Kim Dong-gyu, and a first-round pick in the 2024 rookie draft to Kiwoom for the proven starter.
Choi’s record this season is 9-7 with a 4.30 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 26 games (146⅔ innings)
In Kiwoom, he was 6-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 17 games (102⅓ innings), but after moving to LG, he struggled with a 3-3 record in nine games (44⅓ innings) with a 6.70 ERA and 40 strikeouts. He had 38 days to recharge his batteries, ending on September 30 against Doosan in Jamsil, but it’s hard to completely shake off the jitters.
LG can’t help but think of foreign pitcher Adam Plutko, who was the ace of the first half. After going 11-3 with a 2.41 ERA in 21 games (123⅓ innings) this season, Plutko started to show signs of illness in the second half. He suffered from a cold and a high fever, and was later diagnosed with COVID-19. After his third game back on August 26 against Changwon NC, he was sidelined again with a pelvic bone bruise. He delayed his return after disagreeing with the club over his injury recovery, and his season ended.
With Plutko’s early return to Korea, LG will be without a foreign pitcher for the Korean Series. In Game 1, Kelly pitched 6⅓ innings with 4 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, and 2 runs (1 earned). The pressure is on for Game 2, and Choi Won-tae will have to step up to the plate.
Choi has only pitched one game against KT this year.
On September 5 in Suwon, he gave up two runs on five hits (one home run) in three innings with one walk and three strikeouts in a no-decision.
In the postseason, he appeared in a total of 13 games (three starts) as a rookie, but went 1-0 with a 9.50 ERA and no wins. He gave up 21 runs (19 earned) in 18 innings. In the five games of the 2019 and 2022 Korean Series, he went 1-1 with a 9.53 ERA. His struggles in big games are a concern.
Against him, KT will start foreign pitcher William Cuevas. Since returning to KT in June as a replacement for Bo Schuler, Cuevas has gone 12-0 with a 2.60 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 18 games (114⅓ innings). He finished as the third-best undefeated pitcher in history, behind only Oh Bong-ok (13 wins) in 1992 and Kim Hyun-wook (10 wins) in 2002. Cuevas was the first to win 10 starts.
Against LG, Cuevas was dominated with an 11.45 ERA in three games. He gave up four runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings against Jamsil on July 6, six runs on seven hits (one homer) with two walks in three innings against Suwon on July 27, and four runs on seven hits (one homer) with two walks in three innings against Suwon on September 5. Moon Bo-kyung (.600 3/5 with 2 home runs), Park Hae-min (.600 3/5). Kim Hyun-soo (.571 4/7) and Moon Sung-joo (.429 3/7) had strong games for Cuevas.
But Cuevas is a big-game pitcher who thrives in big games.
In five postseason games (25⅓ innings), he went 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA. In Game 1 of the 2021 Korean Series, he pitched 7⅔ innings against Doosan, allowing one run on seven hits and one walk while striking out eight. He also won the fourth game of the playoffs against NC in Changwon on March 3 with six innings of one-hit ball and three strikeouts. He threw 73 pitches on four days’ rest.
The weakness against LG is a concern, but Game 1 starter Ko Young-pyo overcame the relativity. Ko was 2-2 with a 7.36 ERA in four regular-season LG games this year, but in Game 1 of the Korean Series, he bounced back with six innings of seven hits, two walks, three strikeouts, and two runs (one earned). After the Game 1 win, KT manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “I think Young-pyo Ko went in with a different mindset today. He overcame the early crisis well. I’m sure Cuevas is thinking about it a lot. We’ve talked about a lot of things. I’m looking forward to it. Anyway, we have to trust Cuevas,” he said.