KT Wiz’s rise is unexpected. Even the No. 1 team’s coach is wary.
KT lost 6-11 to the Hanwha Eagles in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Daejeon Hanwha Life Eagles Park on April 18. The loss ended a five-game winning streak and dropped KT’s record to 56-2-46.
Although they were swept by Hanwha, KT’s momentum before this game was tremendous.
They were in third place, a game behind second-place SSG. Their record in the second half was 19-4. That’s a winning percentage of 0.826. Including today’s game, their winning percentage is 0.792.
The driving force behind this improvement is a solid starting lineup. The five-man rotation of William Cuevas, Wes Benjamin, Young-pyo, Bae Je-seong, and Uhm Sang-baek is strong. In the second half of the season, the starters have a 2.53 ERA in 22 games. The team’s second-best starting ERA is 3.72 for LG.
With the stabilization of the starting rotation, the team has the ability to go deep into games, and with their good hitting, they have a good chance of pulling off the upset even if they are down.
“I think KT is much more stable than us right now,” said Yoon Kyung-yup. The first thing in baseball is ‘starting baseball,’ but they keep on starting baseball. When you’re a starter, you don’t lose easily,” he said, adding, “When you have five pitchers going six or seven innings, that’s how steady the team is. The team has the bats, so that stability is what eventually leads to wins,” he analyzed.
Luck is also on their side. “If you look at the game on the 17th, it was actually because we got lucky at the end. The team’s luck, team pace, and two-hit balance all came together, and they seem to be on the upswing in the second half,” he said.
“I was one of the people who picked KT to win this year, and I was talking to coach Lee Kang-cheol (when KT was down in the standings), and I said, ‘KT will rise. But it was too steep,” he said, adding that he was surprised.
On the same day, LG consolidated its top spot with an 8-4 reverse sweep of second-place SSG. They are now eight games clear.
But it’s not over yet. KT and LG will play a three-game midweek series in Suwon from September 5-7.
LG can only hope they don’t run into their arch-nemesis Benjamin. Benjamin has been extremely dominant against LG, going 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA in four games. His season ERA is 4.24, but he gives up fewer runs against LG. He has allowed just two runs in four games.메이저놀이터
“We shouldn’t be losing to one pitcher, but we keep losing,” Yeom sighs.
Despite this, LG is not expected to make any changes to its starting rotation. They’re going with the flow. “It’s more important to do your best in each game, each game, and see how many wins you can accumulate in a month,” Yeom emphasized.