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“Moon Sang-cheol will not bunt. He can pinch-hit and bunt.”
Changwon NC Park, where the 4th playoff game between KT Wiz and NC Dinos was held. Ahead of the game, KT coach Lee Kang-cheol looked perplexed when talk of designated hitter Moon Sang-cheol's bunt came up.
Moon Sang-cheol saved his pride by hitting a solo shot while the KT batting line in the first game was overwhelmed by NC Ace Peddie. He also hit a long hit in Game 2. But the last part of the second game was a problem.
2-3 chase situation, chance to turn 1st and 3rd base safely. At the plate was Moon Sang-cheol, who had good sense. However, in response to Manager Lee Kang-cheol's plan to tie the game and then try to turn things around with one out and two on second base, Moon Sang-cheol executed a squeeze operation in 1S.
However, the batted ball went beyond the third base foul line. Moon Sang-cheol, who was in 2S, struck out on a missed swing by NC closer Lee Yong-chan. In the aftermath, KT squandered a golden opportunity and gave up the second game.
Moon Sang-cheol also had a bunt nightmare in Game 3. It was 1st base with no outs in the 4th inning with a 2-0 lead. Judging that starter Go Young-pyo could throw comfortably if he ran away with just one more point, he once again instructed Moon Sang-cheol to bunt. But failed again. Moon Sang-cheol hit a solo home run in the 7th inning of this game to give the team the win, but said after the game, "I'm not happy at all." He had a hard time because of the guilt that he had lost the second game because of himself, but also because he had failed to carry out the operation.
Coach Lee said, "Moon Sang-cheol bunts amazingly during training. But it seems that machine balls and balls thrown by people are different," and declared, "I won't let him bunt anymore. I think I put too much stress on him."
However, a bunt situation was created for Moon Sang-cheol again. Top of the 3rd inning with a 4-0 lead. Leader Jang Seong-woo hit a hit. Moon Sang-cheol hit a lightning(?) bunt on the first pitch. It was a great success because Jang Seong-woo, a slow-footed runner, lived at second base. In fact, the bunt was a little strong this time, but the opponent did not defend strongly against the bunt as he had already lost his will to fight. Thanks to Moon Sang-cheol's successful bunt, KT added 2 points in the 3rd inning and took the lead early in the game.
So why did coach Lee order Moon Sang-cheol to bunt even though he was a liar? Sang-cheol Moon is filling the void left by Baek-ho Kang due to injury this fall. He needs to perform well in the remaining Game 5 and the Korean Series, but the first intention may have been to throw away the mental burden he had accumulated due to the previous two bunts by successfully bunting. A kind of revival of Moon Sang-cheol. Manager Lee would not have made a plan in a potentially nerve-wracking moment, such as giving up the first run, but since the team had a four-point lead and was relatively relaxed, Moon Sang-cheol was able to bunt with much ease.
Second, you never know when or how the flow of a big game will change. They were ahead 4-0, and anyone could see that KT was going to win, but the coach may have been anxious. The idea of creating a clear wedge would not have been ruled out.
Saturday, November 4, 2023