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Shin Min-hyuk, starting NC game 5 in emergency, Benjamin for KT

There is a high possibility that NC, which is on the defensive in the playoffs with two consecutive losses after two consecutive wins, will not be able to use 'best pitcher' Eric Peddy (30) in Game 5. The starter for Game 5 is not Peddie.

NC right-hander Shin Min-hyuk and KT left-hander Wes Benjamin were announced on the 4th as starting pitchers for Game 5 of the 2023 KBO playoffs (PO, best-of-five) to be held at Suwon KT Wiz Park at 2 p.m. on the 5th.

According to the original order, it is Peddie's turn to play in the fifth game. In the first PO game held in Suwon on the 30th of last month, Peddie became the winning pitcher by putting the KT batting line to rest with 3 hits (1 home run), 1 walk, 12 strikeouts, and 1 run in 6 innings. It was a perfect pitch that led to NC’s first win.

At that time, the number of pitches was 98, which did not exceed 100. After a full 5 days of rest, it was time to go for the 5th game, but the brakes were put on. NC coach Kang In-kwon said in an interview after the 4th game on the 3rd, “Peddy’s condition has not recovered to 100%. He is troubled. “I will check my condition tomorrow morning (the 4th) and make a decision,” he said.

The starter announced on the 4th ended up being Shin Min-hyuk, not Peddie. In the Gwangju KIA game on the 16th of last month, which was his last appearance during the regular season, Peddie was replaced after being hit on the right forearm by Go Jong-wook's strike ball in the 6th inning. He avoided major injury with a simple bruise, but needed a recovery process and skipped his semi-PO with SSG.

As NC ended the semi-PO season with 3 consecutive wins, Peddie had a chance to play fall baseball. In the first game of PO, which was his first appearance in two weeks, he threw two-seam fastballs (37) with a speed of up to 155 km and pitched well with curves (49) including a sweeper, change-ups (7), and cutters (5).

NC, which had won games 1 and 2 away in Suwon and was only one win away from advancing to the Korean Series, lost games 3 and 4 at home in Changwon. Although the score was tied at 2 wins and 2 losses, NC was on the defensive. It's a pity that he couldn't use his best ace card in the final 5th game. You can stand by in the bullpen as relief, but it is difficult if you are not in good shape.

Director Kang In-kwon expected, “Shin Min-hyuk is not bad either.” Shin Min-hyuk is NC's surprise hit product this fall. In the first semi-PO game against SSG on the 22nd of last month, he laid the foundation for victory with 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, and no runs in 5⅔ innings, and also won the second PO game against KT on the 31st with a good pitching of 6⅓ innings, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, and no runs. He has shown a strong presence by pitching big games and pitching 12 scoreless innings in two games. His fastball velocity is not fast at a maximum of 144km, but his control is good enough to freely perform corner work, and his main weapon, the changeup, is powerful.

KT, which is aiming for a reverse sweep by counterattacking with two consecutive wins after two consecutive losses, will start with Benjamin after four days of rest. Benjamin took the loss in PO 2nd Charger with 4 hits (1 home run), no walks, 2 strikeouts, and 3 runs in 5 innings. At the time, he was hit in the thigh by Kim Joo-won's swooping ball in the 5th inning, but there was no major problem. With an 11-2 victory in the 4th game, KT, who saved their sure-win team Park Young-hyun and Kim Jae-yoon and starting agent Bae Jeong-seong, will fight with all their might while saving up enough strength.

Meanwhile, among the 26 teams that lost games 1 and 2 in the past KBO postseason best-of-five series, only 4 teams have succeeded in a reverse sweep by winning games 3 to 5, which is only 15.4% in terms of probability. In the semi-PO, Doosan (against Lotte) in 2010, Doosan (against Nexen) in 2013, Hyundai (against Ssangbangwool in 1996), and SK (against Doosan) in PO succeeded in reverse sweeps.
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Saturday, November 4, 2023

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