NC Dinos and SSG Landers put all of their aces and key players who were missing due to injury into the semi-playoff entry.
NC included ace Eric Peddy in the semi-playoff entry announced on the 21st. Peddie last pitched against the Gwangju KIA Tigers on the 16th, and suffered a problem after being hit by a hard ball on his right arm. His hospital examination showed that it was a simple bruise, but he decided to rest a little longer until the first game of the playoffs following the wild card game.
Regarding whether to use Peddy after beating the Doosan Bears 14-9 in the first game of the wild card decision on the 19th, NC coach Kang In-kwon said, “It seems to be recovering little by little each day. Today is a little better than yesterday. Tomorrow (20th) ) I think we will have to train and watch his condition one more time and then decide when he will pitch. I think it is too early to talk about it now.” Peddie showed his will to appear by putting his name on the entry list, but there is still a question mark as to how many games he will appear on the mound.
Peddie played an active role as an irreplaceable ace this year. In 30 games, he recorded 20 wins, 6 losses, 180⅓ innings, 209 strikeouts, and an earned run average of 2.00, ranking first in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average. The pitcher triple crown is a record achieved by only four players in KBO history, including Sun Dong-yeol, Ryu Hyun-jin, Yoon Seok-min, and Peddy. Peddie became the first foreign player to achieve this record and booked himself the regular season MVP award.
He also left a valuable record of achieving 20 wins and 200 strikeouts at the same time. In 1983, Jang Myung-bu recorded 30 wins and 220 strikeouts, in 1984, Choi Dong-won recorded 27 wins and 223 strikeouts, in 1985, Kim Si-jin recorded 25 wins and 201 strikeouts, and in 1986, Sun Dong-yeol recorded 24 wins and 214 strikeouts. It took a whopping 37 years for Fedi to succeed Sun Dong-yeol in 1986. This is the first time in history for a foreign player. If Feddy returns to the mound in good health, he can threaten third-place SSG.
NC made quite a few changes in their wild card series entry. The names of 13 Tusoon members included Peddie, Tanner Tully, Song Myeong-ki, Kim Young-gyu, Choi Seong-young, Kim Si-hoon, Lee Yong-chan, Lim Jeong-ho, Ha Jun-young, Ryu Jin-wook, Lee Jae-hak, Shin Min-hyuk, and Lee Jun-ho. As Pedi entered, Han Jae-seong was left out.
The catchers were reorganized from a two-man system of Park Se-hyuk and Kim Hyeong-jun to a three-man system including Park Dae-on. Kim Hyeong-jun is expected to be instrumental as he hit 4 RBIs, including 2 home runs, in the Wild Card Series, and since it is a best-of-5 series, it is expected that one more catcher will be added to prepare for an emergency.
Seven infielders joined, including Park Min-woo, Seo Ho-cheol, Kim Joo-won, Do Tae-hoon, Choi Jeong-won, Oh Young-su, and Kim Han-byul. Kim Soo-yoon was removed from the existing 8 members. Seven outfielders were named, including Park Young-bin, Chun Jae-hwan, Kim Seong-wook, Son Ah-seop, Kwon Hee-dong, Park Geon-woo, and Jason Martin. With Park Han-gyeol out, Jae-Hwan Chun came in.
SSG has the return of Kirk McCarty, a welcome name. McCarty ended his season on September 24th due to a right oblique injury. He devoted himself to rehabilitation to appear in the post-season, and was named to the entry list after receiving a passing grade. Before his injury, McCarty had 9 wins, 5 losses, 130 innings, 116 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.39 in 24 games.
Since McCarty has been out of action for nearly a month, there is a high possibility that he will pitch in the bullpen. McCarty completed his final inspection by throwing 15 balls during live pitching on the 20th.
In addition, starting third baseman and main gun Choi Jeong-do joined in good health. Choi Jeong-eun was diagnosed with a microscopic injury to the thigh muscle at the end of the season and ended the season with 5 days left in the regular season. Since Choi Jeong is a key player that determines the firepower of SSG’s batting line, attention was focused on whether he would recover, but his worries were alleviated when he joined the team.
SSG has 12 pitchers, including McCarty, Ko Hyo-jun, Lee Kun-wook, Seo Jin-yong, Roenis Elias, Kim Gwang-hyun, Noh Kyung-eun, Moon Seung-won, Oh Won-seok, Choi Min-jun, Lee Ro-woon, and Song Young-jin. Compared to NC, the proportion of fielders was slightly increased while reducing the number of pitchers by one.
The three catchers will be Lee Jae-won, Kim Min-sik, and Cho Hyeong-woo. Six infielders were named: Park Seong-han, Kim Chan-hyung, Kim Seong-hyun, Ahn Sang-hyun, Choi Jeong, and Choi Joo-hwan.
Nine players were assigned to the outfield. Kim Kang-min, Choi Sang-min, Ha Jae-hoon, Choo Shin-soo, Guillermo Heredia, Kang Jin-seong, Han Yu-seom, Oh Tae-gon, and Choi Ji-hoon joined.
NC and SSG will play the first round of the semi-playoffs at Incheon SSG Landers Field on the 22nd. NC announced Shin Min-hyuk and SSG announced Elias as the starting pitcher.
The key is how long Shin Min-hyuk can endure in the first game, where taking the lead is important. The NC bullpen showed an uneasy appearance in the wild card match against Doosan. Ryu Jin-wook boasted good condition, but Kim Young-gyu’s control faltered, and closing pitcher Lee Yong-chan’s sluggishness from the end of the season continued until the fall stage. Shin Min-hyuk’s shoulders are bound to be heavy.
Shin Min-hyuk appeared in 29 games this year and recorded 5 wins, 5 losses, 122 innings, 97 strikeouts, and an ERA of 3.98. It is true that it has less weight compared to a pedi. He also appeared in 4 games against SSG this year, pitching 12⅓ innings and recording an average ERA of only 6.57. The situation is full of question marks as he has no postseason pitching experience.
SSG coach Kim Won-hyung selected Elias, who had the best performance at the end of the season, as the first starter in the postseason. Elias recorded 8 wins, 6 losses, 131⅓ innings, and an ERA of 3.70 in 22 games this season. He showed some degree of adaptation to the KBO League in the second half rather than the first half, gradually building trust in SSG coach Kim Won-hyung. However, the fact that he struggled with 1 win, 14⅓ innings, and an ERA of 7.53 in the 3 games he pitched against NC is an element of concern.
Even in October, Elias boasted the stamina to consistently throw balls faster than 150 km/h and even possessed control. By reducing the proportion of changeups and increasing the proportion of curves, he has established himself as a pitcher who is difficult for batters to target. It is noteworthy whether the good trend can continue in the fall.
NC and SSG faced each other only once on the postseason stage. This was when SSG was the SK Wyverns in 2017. That year, NC ranked 4th and SK ranked 5th, advancing to the postseason and playing the wild card game. NC won 10-5 in the first game, confirming their advance to the semi-playoffs.
This year, the situation for the two teams was completely different. NC entered the fall baseball season in 4th place and has already exhausted its stamina after playing one game in the wild card game against 5th place Doosan. SSG, which placed 3rd and advanced straight to the semi-playoffs, is in a relatively comfortable situation. SSG can be seen as having an overall advantage in terms of mound strength.메이저놀이터
The key appears to be hitting. In the wild card game, NC’s Seo Ho-cheol and Kim Hyeong-jun, who were placed in the lower batting lineup, showed off their power by hitting 3 home runs and 10 RBIs together. Existing main hitters Son Ah-seop and Kim Joo-won have also improved their batting skills to the point where they have recorded multiple hits. It appears that the fate of the two teams in the series will differ depending on how well Elias silences the NC batters’ bats.