William Cuevas (33), a foreign pitcher for the KT Wiz who is expected to start the first round of the Korean Baseball Playoffs (PO), voiced his desire to shut down the NC Dinos’ formidable table-setters.
The question was posed by KT manager Lee Kang-cheol, and Cuevas responded with a cheerful “of course!”.
Cuevas spoke to reporters in the dugout after the team’s final training session for the PO at Katie Wise Park in Suwon on Sept. 29.
“I got the schedule (from the coaches) about a week ago to start the first game of the PO, so I prepared like I would in the regular season,” he said.
“I’m not fighting with the pitcher, I’m confident because I have a good record against NC (3.00 ERA per game),” he said, referring to his opponent, Eric Peddy, who has 20 wins.
“We had a 100% winning percentage in the regular season (12 wins and no losses), and we want to continue the trend in the POs,” he said calmly.
At this point, Coach Lee Kang-cheol, who had been watching the team practice from a distance, approached Cuevas and started asking him questions.
The intention was to ease Cuevas’ nerves.
Lee laughed and asked, “Do you think you can catch NC No. 1 to No. 3 in career batting average?”
NC’s No. 1-3 is Son Asub (.339), Park Min-woo (.316), and Park Gun-woo (.319-over 2023 regular season batting average).
If we exclude Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom Heroes), who has declared his intention to play in Major League Baseball (MLB), among active hitters with more than 3,000 at-bats, Park Gun-woo (0.326) is first, Son As-seop (0.322) is second, and Park Min-woo (0.320) is third.
It’s no exaggeration to say that KT’s chances of advancing to the Korean Series (KS) hinge on the defense of these three players.
“They know I’m the best pitcher in the KBO and they’re going to be scared,” Cuevas said.
Manager Lee Kang-cheol gave a thumbs-up to Cuevas’ answer and asked, “Then how do you stop (NC foreign hitter) Jason Martin, whose high fastball seems to be a little weak?” Cuevas replied, “I can’t give you the analysis. I’ll show you in the game tomorrow.” Cuevas chuckled.
“In the past, Cuevas has often ruined games with his playfulness, and he showed that once this year against the LG Twins,” said Lee Kang-cheol. “But this year, he seems to be playing more seriously than in the past and showing better results.”
“I don’t know why I’ve become so serious, but it’s helping me a lot,” Cuevas said, nodding his head before the interpreter could finish the sentence. I will continue to be serious,” he told Lee.
There are many reasons behind Lee’s public advice and orders to Cuevas.
After being released in the middle of last season due to injury, Cuevas rejoined KT in the middle of this season and has been an ace.
This will be his first postseason in two years, and Lee wants him to be more focused.
He also wants him to bring back some of the playfulness that he has shown at times.
Lee once again reminded Cuevas of what’s important ahead of the first leg of the PO.
KT will play the first leg of the PO against NC at 6:30 p.m. on the 30th at the same venue. 파워볼분석