‘Super Ace’ Eric Peddie and homegrown ace Koo Chang-mo are out, and even their main hitter Park Gun-woo is not at full strength. Despite starting with a one-game lead, the NC Dinos’ path to the wild card is far from easy.
NC will face the Doosan Bears in the wild-card deciding game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO postseason at NC Park in Changwon, Gyeongnam, on April 18.
The fourth-place team has never lost a wild-card game since the league’s inception in 2015, when it became a 10-team format. In the eight wildcard games, the fifth-place team won the first round and advanced to the second round only twice, in 2016 (KIA) and 2021 (Kiwoom).
The format absolutely favors the fourth place team. The fourth-place team will advance to the semifinals with a win or tie in Game 1, while the fifth-place team must take both Game 1 and Game 2. What’s more, both games are played at the home of the fourth-place team.
The format hasn’t changed this year, but there’s a different dynamic than in previous years. This is because the situation in the 4th place NC is not so good.
The fierce battle for third through fifth place continued until the very end of the season, forcing NC to fight to the very end. Third place was a no-brainer, as it would put them directly into the semi-playoffs and give them a rest day.
Fourth place isn’t the worst-case scenario, but it’s still a disappointing result. Even fifth-ranked Doosan was ranked a day before the final game of the regular season, while NC’s position was not finalized until the final day of play.
Moreover, the end of the season also brought bad news. Koo Chang-mo, who had returned from injury, was once again injured and out for the season, and Pedi, who appeared in the 16th game to secure third place, was hit in the arm by a bat in that game. NC suffered an upset loss in that game and lost the third spot.
Luckily, the injury wasn’t too serious, but it still made it difficult for Peddy to pitch in the Wild Card game. He threw 90 pitches in his last start, so he’ll need at least four days of rest, which isn’t enough for a start on the 19th or 20th.
As a result, NC left Peddie off the roster altogether.
Before the season finale on Sunday, leadoff hitter Park Gun-woo was also removed from the first team. He felt pain in his knee in the previous game, so he had to be rested.안전놀이터
Luckily, Park didn’t have any problems playing, so he wasn’t dropped from the roster. However, it is clear that he is not at full strength, which is a big concern.
Doosan also lost ace Raul Alcantara to the lineup due to a lack of rest days. NC will send Tanner Tully to take on Doosan’s Kwak-Bin in Game 1 on the 19th.
So far, so good. Since joining the team mid-season, Tanner has been solid, going 5-2 with a 2.92 ERA in 11 games.
The only problem is if he loses game one to force a second game. In that case, NC will send out right-hander Song Myung-ki, who will be opposed by outfielder Brandon Waddell. The matchup between Song Myung-ki, a potential but still up-and-down youngster, and Brandon, a proven outfielder, is sure to be a close one.
The best-case scenario for NC is to close out the series in Game 1 and set themselves up for the semifinals. If they drop Game 1, they could become the first No. 4 team in history to lose a wild-card game.