KT Wiz William Cuevas, who was one of the best pitchers in the league this season, took on the responsibility of starting the first game of the playoffs.
The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) revealed the starting pitchers for the first game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO playoffs to be held at Suwon KT Wiz Park on the 30th. As expected, both NC Dinos and KT will feature ace Eric Peddie and Cuevas as starters.
Cuevas, who joined the team in mid-June as a replacement for Bo Schulser, recorded 12 wins and an ERA of 2.60 in 18 games and 114⅓ innings in 18 regular season games, reaching the 10th win mark without a single loss. Thanks to this, he experienced the joy of winning the title of winning percentage king.
Cuevas, who completed team training at Suwon KT Wiz Park on this day, said, “I only rested for 3 weeks, but it feels like I rested for almost a month. I have been looking forward to tomorrow’s game. About a week ago, the coach told me (that I would start in the first game). He said, “I feel more confident because there are no problems with my condition and I am not in any pain. I prepared the same way as I usually did with the starting rotation during the regular season,” he said, expressing his thoughts ahead of the playoffs.
If KT has the upper hand in terms of physical strength, NC is banking on the atmosphere. NC, which had been on an unstoppable upward trend with four consecutive wins through the wild card game and semi-playoffs, took a break for four days. Moreover, as Pedi was announced as the starter for the first game, the players’ confidence has risen to the highest level.
This season, Cuevas appeared once as a starting pitcher in the NC game on June 30, leaving decent results with 5 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, and 2 runs in 6 innings. At that time, he gave up two hits to Son Ah-seop and one hit each to Kim Joo-won, Kwon Hee-dong, and Seo Ho-cheol.
Cuevas said, “(Through the wild card game and semi-playoffs), I saw NC players secrete adrenaline and do their best by doing more than their abilities because they were playing a game with no tomorrow. They advanced to the postseason.” “The point is that the entire team did well, so I have expectations about facing a high-level team,” he said. “(Regarding the matchup with Peddie) I’m not fighting the opposing pitcher anyway, and I also did well in the regular season, so I’m not too worried.” He expressed his thoughts.
Cuevas, who has been on the KBO League stage since 2019, has experienced fall baseball in 2020 (playoffs) and 2021 (Korean Series). In particular, in 2021, he boasted a good condition from the end of October, when the regular season entered the end, and following the ranking match against the Samsung Lions, who fought for first place, he pitched well in the Korean Series against the Doosan Bears, helping the team win the overall championship. contributed greatly.
However, both the 2020 playoffs and the 2021 Korean Series were held as ‘neutral games’ at Gocheok Sky Dome, not Suwon KT Wiz Park. This is the first time Cuevas is playing the postseason at Suwon KT Wiz Park. He expressed his expectations, saying, “I think I’m more excited about throwing in a stadium full of fans. That’s what I want,” and “I want to show a good game in front of many home fans.”
While being interviewed by reporters, a person passing by asked Cuevas a question. It was KT coach Lee Kang-cheol. Manager Lee asked whether it was burdensome that the 1st to 3rd batters in the NC batting lineup (Son Ah-seop, Park Min-woo, and Park Geon-woo) were ranked 1st to 3rd in batting average in the KBO League, and Cuevas responded, “I know I am the best pitcher in the KBO League. “I don’t think those batters will be more afraid of him because of that,” he said with a smile.
Cuevas continued, “I knew that coach Lee Kang-cheol was a legendary player in Korea, and he is a very smart and good person because he knows what questions reporters should ask.” He added, “I am confident that the players and coach trust me.” “It’s also the reason why we exist,안전놀이터” he said, expressing his gratitude to his colleagues and the head coach.
Cuevas wants to repay the team’s trust with the best pitching. Cuevas, who wants to recreate the glory of the 2021 Korean Series, said, “One mistake can immediately send you home. Mistakes are not tolerated on the mound, so I will show a more serious side.”