One of the highlights of the KBO playoffs (best-of-three PO -5 games), which begin on April 30, will be whether the NC Dinos’ “left-right bullpen play” that worked so well in the semifinals will work against the KT Wiz.
NC took down the SSG Landers in the semifinals with an exquisite bullpen combo, even without ace Eric Peddie, who won three pitching titles.
NC manager Kang Myung-ho deployed a bullpen plan in which right-handed pitchers shut down SSG’s two top hitters, Choi Jung and Guillermo Heredia, while left-handed pitchers zigzagged through the top and bottom of the batting order.
Two left-handed relievers were responsible for two of the three semifinal wins, with NC’s Choi Sung-young earning one win and Kim Young-gyu picking up one save.
NC advanced to the playoffs after sweeping Doosan Bears and SSG, who finished with a combined 8-8 record in the regular season, in the wild-card deciding game and semifinals, respectively.
However, their playoff opponent, KT, has a weak 6-10 record this season, so they will have to come up with a new strategy on offense.
In particular, the key will be how to stop KT’s right-handed hitters, who make up the bulk of their batting lineup.
While left-handed slugger Kang Baek-ho will not be able to play fall baseball after tearing his side muscle during the 26th game of the Cheongbaeik Series, veteran right-handers Park Byung-ho, Anthony Alford, Jang Sung-woo, Hwang Jae-gyun, Choi Jae-dae, and Park Kyung-soo are in good shape and ready to face NC.
KT’s right-handed hitters have been relatively successful against left-handed pitching this season, with Alford hitting seven home runs, Jang Jang-woo five, and Park Byung-ho four. Hwang Jae-gyun also has eight doubles and a .306 batting average against left-handed pitching.
For NC, the status of right-hander Lee Jae-hak, who was hit in the back of the right hand by a SSG Oh Tae-gon’s pitch in Game 3 of the semifinals, will be crucial.
RHP Kim Si-hoon, who did not appear in the semifinals but posted a 2.70 ERA in four regular-season games against KT, and right-hander Ryu Jin-wook, who stabilized the bullpen with three saves in three semifinal games as a set-up man, are expected to be more important in the playoffs.
KT’s pinch-hitting success rate of .244 this season ranks third in the league, something NC manager Kang In-hwa will have to consider.
Regardless of whether Pedi, who is recovering from a right forearm injury, is available for the playoffs, KT manager Lee Kang-chul expressed confidence, saying, “We will go our own way.” 온라인카지노사이트