“I’ll talk about it when we win. I’d be a fool to say it now.” KT manager Lee Kang-cheol laughed off the question of his Game 4 starter before Game 3 of the playoffs on Sunday. He said he couldn’t talk about it right now.
“We have all the starters for tomorrow (Game 4) and Game 5. I think we’re ready, and I think if we win today, we’ll have the advantage going into Game 4.” The team wouldn’t have been so confident before the game if they didn’t have Cuevas’ start in mind.
KT Wiz defeated the NC Dinos 3-0 in Game 3 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason at NC Park in Changwon on April 2. The Wiz came back from the brink to win the series 2-1. After the game, manager Lee Kang-cheol revealed that Cuevas would start Game 4, as expected.
He said he didn’t think twice about starting Cuevas in Game 4. “I had him prepare for Game 4 as soon as Game 1 was over. He didn’t throw many pitches. I didn’t think it would be over in three games, so I prepared Cuevas to start (Game 4),” Lee said, “and he accepted right away.”
It’s a decision that might be puzzling if you look at the record. Cuevas started Game 1 of the playoffs on May 30 at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, South Korea, and gave up seven runs (four earned) on 75 pitches in three innings.
It was a stat line that didn’t live up to his reputation as a “big game pitcher. Up until last year, Cuevas had made a name for himself as a big-game pitcher, going 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in three postseason appearances. His most memorable performance came in a game that had just as much postseason significance. In the first-ever first-place tiebreaker game of 2021, he pitched seven scoreless innings on just two days’ rest.
In his first fall ball of the year, Cuevas allowed six hits, including a three-run homer, with two walks and two strikeouts before being removed with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning. He gave up seven runs, including the winning run, and committed an error of his own. 토토사이트
However, Lee was confident that he would not lose the battle for the Game 4 starting job. “Cuevas didn’t pitch badly in Game 1,” Lee said in the postgame press conference. We checked a few things and talked about it. (Cuevas) is a good pitcher, so it’s not that Song Myung-ki is bad, but I think we have an advantage because of his record.”
In fact, the NC players didn’t think Cuevas’ pitches were bad either. Park Min-woo, who went 2-for-4 with a double against Cuevas in Game 1, said, “I was really surprised. I’ve seen him hit a lot of pitches since he came to Korea (in 2019), but I don’t know if he’s used to throwing this kind of ball. It was the first time I’ve seen him since I went to the United States. It was even better than I saw in the video. The ball was really good, and I think we got lucky. Cuevas’ balls don’t come that clean. It’s a dirty ball with that restraint, so I think it’s like a pedi that the other side saw.”