A shocking upset for the KT Wiz. KT had their two-game winning streak snatched away from them. After scoring four runs in the first inning, they were unable to score any more runs and gave up one run in the eighth inning, giving up a walk-off home run and losing the save to the same pitcher who had lost the previous day. It was a loss that kept the opponent’s spirits up. The problem is that it feels like they are running out of steam.굿모닝토토 도메인
KT blew a 4-0 lead in Game 2 of the Korean Series against the LG Twins on Aug. 8 in Jamsil before falling 4-5. It was all good until starter William Cuevas pitched six innings of two-run ball, but the Son-Dong-hyun-Park Young-hyun tandem, which had been pitching scoreless, collapsed.
Son had pitched every game since Game 1 of the playoffs. He was named the series MVP after pitching seven innings of three-hit ball in Game 5 of the playoffs. He also pitched two perfect innings in the seventh and eighth in Game 1 of the Korean Series. Park Young-hyun also pitched four games in the playoffs, including a five-inning, two-hit shutout, and earned his first Korean Series save by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 1.
A day later, they both fell apart. Son Dong-hyun entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a 4-2 lead and got two outs, but was nervous. He got Shin Min-jae (No. 9) to ground out to shortstop and Hong Chang-ki (No. 1) to ground out to second base, both of which were well-hit balls. He then gave up a walk to Park Hae-min (No. 2) on a full count.
Lee Kang-cheol, feeling nervous, immediately brought in Park Young-hyun, and the result was the opposite of what he expected. Kim Hyun-soo hit Park’s 145-kilometer fastball, and the ball quickly traveled down the first base line and out of the outfield past first baseman Park Byung-ho. Park slammed it home to make it 4-3.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the fear finally came true. Park Young-hyun gave up a leadoff double to Oh Ji-hwan and then threw four pitches in a row for a walk. Moon laid down a sacrifice bunt. A walk to Park Dong-won with two outs. The first pitch, a changeup, was pushed up the middle, and Park, who has 20 home runs this season, didn’t miss it, smashing it over the wall in left-center.
It was the first time the “current duo,” who have been impregnable in the postseason this year, gave up a run.
The batters were also stymied by the LG mound. After scoring four runs in the top of the first inning, it was painful to see No. 9 Choi Seong-ho hit a double to left-center field in the top of the second inning and was thrown out trying to run to third base. In the top of the fourth, they had two hits and a walk to load the bases, but No. 1 Kim Sang-soo and No. 2 Hwang Jae-gyun retired LG’s Kim Jin-sung on a fly out to right field and a strikeout. In the top of the fifth, a walk and a hit put runners on first and second, but Game 1 hero Moon Sang-cheol struck out swinging to LG’s Yoo Young-chan. KT batters were then retired by Yoo Young-jin in the seventh, Ham Deok-ju in the eighth, and Go Woo-seok in the ninth. No one reached base after the sixth inning.
It reminded me of the second game of the playoffs between KT and NC, where NC won 3-2, but KT scored a run in the top of the third inning to make it 3-0 and then couldn’t get another run. KT struggled with just one hit against Shin Min-hyuk, but the offense broke out in the seventh inning and scored two runs in the eighth to pull within one. In the ninth inning, they had runners on first, third and second with no outs, but were unable to capitalize. However, the NC hitters seemed to fall off in the late innings and the bullpen looked weak. It was only six games into the second round of the playoffs for NC, which started with the wild card game. NC was in a fierce battle for third place with Doosan and SSG in the regular season, so they were playing the postseason from the end of the season, which put a lot of physical strain on them. NC went 0-3 in Game 3 of the playoffs and 2-11 in Game 4. We went 22 innings without scoring until we scored two runs in the eighth inning of Game 4. And then we lost Game 5 to KT, 2 to 3, and were eliminated from the playoffs with three straight losses after winning two in a row. Physicality played a big part.
Looking back on the playoffs, Lee Kang-cheol said, “In the end, I think the team that waits is definitely at an advantage,” adding, “I think the more the Korean Series goes on, the more the rested team will have an advantage, so I want to end it quickly, but that team is too strong.”
Still, Lee believes that KT, which came into the playoffs with three weeks off, will be different from NC. However, the KT players’ performance in the second half of Game 2 of the Korean Series looked similar to the NC players.
“Son Dong-hyun looked a little tired, so I quickly replaced him,” Lee said after the second game, adding, “The result was bad, but we’ve been playing well, so we’ll be fine tomorrow after a day off.”
Whether it’s temporary fatigue or the after-effects of Game 5 of the playoffs, Game 3 of the Korean Series will be the eighth game of the postseason for KT.