After winning three straight games to advance to the Korean Series (KS) after two losses, KT Wiz manager Lee Kang-cheol smiled as he said, “We played baseball like KT.” “We went from last place in the regular season to second place,” Lee said after the Wiz won 3-2 at home against the NC Dinos in Game 5 of the KBO Playoffs (PO) at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on Friday. “We lost the first and second games in the PO, but I thought it wouldn’t end like this,” he said.
“I think Young-pyo Ko in Game 3, William Cuevas in Game 4, and Wes Benjamin today pitched well to get us to KS. We played good starting baseball like KT.” “Today (in the third inning), we had a series of defensive mistakes, but Benjamin kept the runs to a minimum and gave us a chance to catch up,” Lee said. “The batters had one chance to tie the game, and the pitching staff did a good job of closing it out.” On the day, Lee’s team had several close calls.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, with runners on first and third with the score 0-2, he brought in pinch-hitter Kim Min-hyuk, who lined a double down the right field line to tie the game. “I thought that if I let that chance go by, I wouldn’t get another chance to score,” Lee said, “so I thought I had to play for the win, even if the result was wrong.” “Even if (leadoff hitter Moon Sang-chul) was out, I tried to bring up Kim Min-hyuk in the second inning. “Lee also praised Kim for playing through his thigh injury. “Actually, I didn’t want to put him in the PO lineup (because of his injury), but he’s a good hitter. I think it was a good decision,” he laughed.
When asked, 토토 “Are you planning to use Kim Min-hyuk as a substitute in KS as well?” he said, “I think it will be a little difficult to start him.” When asked about the reason for replacing Benjamin, who was pitching well with no outs in the top of the sixth inning with the score tied 2-2, with Son Dong-hyun in the bullpen, he said, “He was pitching on four days’ rest and had thrown more than 80 pitches.” “Also, his arm didn’t seem to be working well, so I thought it would be better for him to fight in the middle, so I quickly replaced him,” he said.
“The postseason is a flow game, and I thought it would be good to have a player with good energy,” Lee added .Son appeared in all five PO games and pitched seven shutout innings, earning the PO Most Valuable Player (MVP) award .”He gained experience by replacing Park Young-hyun, who was away (competing at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games),” Lee said. “He pitched well in the first game of the PO against Cheongbaek, so I thought he should be used.”
He also explained why he didn’t order Hwang Jae-gyun to bunt with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of the 2-2 tie .At that time, KT had a strong offense, with Hwang Jae-gyun singling to right and Anthony Alford walking to load the bases before Park Byung-ho grounded into an infield single to score the winning run.
“I signed for a bunt, but the opposing batter threw a hard pitch,” said Lee Kang-cheol. “I thought it would be unfair if I couldn’t bunt, so I immediately changed my sign to a hard hit. “After passing the PO after twists and turns, KT will now play KS, where the LG Twins are waiting. Manager Lee Kang-cheol said, “I haven’t thought about KS yet. We will now think about the starting rotation,” Lee said.