After boasting one of the most solid defenses in the regular season, the KT Wiz fell victim to defensive jitters in their first game of fall baseball. A shaky defense and a shaky mound led to a crucial first game of the playoffs.
KT lost 5-9 to the NC Dinos in the first game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason Playoffs (best-of-five series) at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon, South Korea, on Oct. 30.
The first game was so important that head coach Lee Kang-cheol said, “The first game is the key to the whole game.” The team needed to break the momentum of NC, which had won four consecutive games from the wild card deciding game to the semi-playoffs.
The starting card was William Cuevas, who had no reason to be outplayed by his counterpart, Eric Peddie.
However, when the lid was lifted, things didn’t go as expected. Cuevas was shaky early on, giving up back-to-back runs in the first and second innings.
With a two-run lead, it was hard to call the game just yet. After giving up a home run to Oh Young-soo in the second inning, Cuevas settled down and retired the next three batters in a row.
However, the third inning got off to a bad start. The first batter, Park Min-woo, hit an infield single that was dropped by KT third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun. It was a big mistake that left the leadoff hitter on base.
Cuevas was shaky, allowing a double to Park Geon-woo in the next at-bat to load the bases. A batter later, he gave up another single to Kwon Hee-dong, plating the fourth run. It was a meaningless inning, but one that could have been easily wrapped up if not for a fielding error.
In the bottom of the inning, Moon Sang-chul hit a solo shot to cut the deficit to 1-4 and 3 runs. It was a gap that could be considered ‘within range’.
However, once again, shaky defense held them back. The error came from the hands of pitcher Cuevas.
After walking the leadoff batter, Kim Hyung-jun, Cuevas threw to second base on Kim Joo-won’s sacrifice bunt, but the ball went out of bounds and was not caught by shortstop Kim Sang-soo, leaving both runners alive. Cuevas covered his mouth with his glove and screamed in frustration. 굿모닝토토 도메인
Cuevas couldn’t throw the ball anymore. He gave up a wild pitch and then gave up a single to Son As-seob at the plate. The KT bench decided to make a change.
With the score at 1-6, Lee Sang-dong took over the mound after Uhm Sang-baek, and Kwon Hee-dong came to bat with runners on first and second. After an 11-pitch at-bat, Lee gave up a big hit to center field, which was not caught by the platoon that followed. Two runners came home and Kwon advanced to third.