‘Peddie-less’ NC loses Game 1=threatens series upset… Substitute outsider has heavy shoulders
The NC Dinos start this year’s KBO Wild Card Decision with a one-game advantage. However, the series could very well turn into a nightmare if they lose the first game. This is because there is no ‘must-win’ card.
NC will take on the Doosan Bears at Changwon NC Park on April 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the first game of the 2023 KBO Wild Card Decision Series. NC will start left-hander Tanner Tully (29) and Doosan will start right-hander Kwak Bin (24).
The two teams, along with the SSG Landers, battled for third place until the end of the season. Only on the final day of the pennant race (17th) did SSG take the third spot, leaving NC in fourth and Doosan in fifth. As a result, NC and Doosan will face each other at the gateway to the postseason.
In 16 regular-season meetings, NC and Doosan tied with 8 wins and 8 losses. NC holds a slight lead in the head-to-head goal differential, 65-62, but it’s not a huge margin, and the game is likely to be a hard-fought affair.
NC’s Game 1 starter, Tanner, went 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 11 regular season games. He joined the team in mid-August as a foreign player to replace Taylor Widener (29) and showed stability, pitching more than five innings in each game. Despite his low velocity, he has good command of his pitches. Tanner got a head start on the wild-card race, as he was removed from the first team after his appearance against the Changwon LG Electronics on April 13 (6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run).
Tanner made one start against Doosan. On Aug. 20 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, he pitched six innings of seven hits, one walk, four strikeouts, and three runs (one earned) to earn his first win in the KBO. His only start against Doosan was a good one.
However, Tanner will be taking the mound with a lot of pressure on him. While one win is enough for NC to advance to the semifinals, if they lose the first game, it will be a tough series. Tanner will have to take the win into his own hands.
Doosan’s Game 1 starter, Kwak Bin, is the team’s homegrown ace. In 23 appearances, he has a 12-7 record with a 2.90 ERA. He was also selected to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games team, and despite some health issues after his suspension, he returned to the mound to pitch six innings of one-run ball against KIA on April 13. In three NC games this season, he has a 3.07 ERA.
The battle for the starting spot in Game 1 is tight, but if it goes to Game 2, the tide shifts sharply in favor of Doosan. Doosan has already announced left-hander Brandon Waddell, 29, as its Game 2 starter. Waddell, who joined the rotation for the second year in a row last year, has posted a stellar 11-3 record with a 2.49 ERA. While they don’t have a head-to-head this season, Weld pitched well in two games against NC last year, holding them to a .146 batting average over 12 innings.
NC, on the other hand, will be led by right-hander Song Myung-ki (23). He has appeared in 35 games this year, splitting time between starting and relief, with a 4-9 record and a 4.83 ERA. In 17 games as a starter, he is 3-7 with a 4.81 ERA, including 5⅔ scoreless innings against Doosan in Jamsil on April 4. He’s a bit of a longshot in the starting battle.토토사이트
In fact, NC has what could be called a get-out-of-jail-free card in Eric Peddy, 30. He won the pitcher’s triple crown with a 20-6 record, 209 strikeouts and a 2.00 ERA in 30 games and 180⅓ innings pitched. Unsurprisingly, he’s been the team’s ace all year.
However, Pedi made his first start on April 16 against the Gwangju KIA. Pitching Game 1 of the wild-card deciding game is obviously impossible, and Game 2 is even harder unless he’s pitching on three days’ rest. Add to that the fact that he was hit in the forearm in his last outing, and while it was just a bruise, we had to wait and see. As a result, he was removed from the series roster, which was announced on the 18th. Peddy will likely be targeted for Game 1 of the semifinals.
If NC drops Game 1, they could find themselves in a tight game 2. Without an ace up their sleeve, dropping Game 2 could mean NC never gets to use Pedi in fall baseball and ends the season upset by a fifth-place team. Winning Game 1 is paramount for NC. The team’s situation does not allow for a one-game cushion.