The ‘miracle team’ and the ‘miracle team’ are about to meet. Reaching the Korean Series is a real miracle. The miracle team will face off against a team that hasn’t accomplished a miracle in 29 years, and the real miracle team of 2023.
Both the KT Wiz, who finished second in the regular season, and the NC Dinos, who finished fourth in the regular season and won the wild-card game and semifinals, have been called “miracle teams.
KT pulled off the miracle of going from last place to second place this season. The last place finish was not just for one day in April, at the beginning of the season. They were in last place for about a month in May. Before the season, KT was one of the favorites to win the title along with the LG Twins. They had Wes Benjamin, who was good last year, and the domestic starters of Ko Young-pyo and Choi Soo-joon, and the newly acquired Bo Schuler, whose fastball wasn’t bad in the exhibition games. In addition, Kim Sang-soo, who was brought in as a free agent, filled the void of Shim Woo-jun, a shortstop who enlisted in the military, and Kang Baek-ho, who was sluggish due to injuries last year, was expected to be good this season.
However, before the season, the team began to lose its main players to injuries one by one, and later it became difficult to organize the order properly. Choi Soo-joon is out for the season with elbow ligament damage. Kim Min-soo, a key member of the bullpen who recorded 32 saves last year, is also out with a sore shoulder. It’s hard to find a starter to call a first-team roster. KT manager Lee Kang-cheol had to spend a lot of time before the game giving updates on the status of the injured players. On top of that, foreign pitcher Schuesser struggled, and Benjamin, who was expected to be the ace, was uneven, and the starting lineup was on the verge of collapse. KT decided to bring back William Cuevas, who quickly regained his health, and acquired infielder Lee Ho-yeon in a trade with the Lotte Giants. As the starting lineup stabilized, injured players returned, and the lineup became more complete, KT began to take on the appearance of a “championship contender. After dropping to 10th place on May 7, the team won four straight games on June 7 to climb to 9th place. The team continued to climb up the rankings with strong starting baseball, led by ‘undefeated pitcher’ Cuevas, and eventually reached second place, threatening LG. Although they were unable to fight for the top spot due to the injury of Uhm Sang-baek in the second half of the season, they finished the season in second place, showing the miraculous power of the team’s name.토토사이트
Unlike KT, NC was one of the most talked-about teams to finish last before the season, and rightfully so, with a negative record. The 2020 championship team was losing members one by one. After the 2021 season, Na Sung-beom left as a free agent to join the KIA Tigers, and after the end of last season, Yang Yang-ji went to Doosan, No Jin-hyuk to Lotte, and Won Jong-hyun to Kiwoom. The departure of Yang Yang-ji, who was considered the centerpiece of the offense and defense, was the biggest negative factor.
I was curious to see how Kang In-hwa, who led the team as an acting head coach last season, would fare this time around. But with a blend of veterans like Son As-seop, Park Gun-woo, and Park Min-woo, and younger players, NC’s rise proved to be more than a flash in the pan, as Eric Peddie, who was once described as “not good enough to play in Korea,” led the way on the mound, while young pitchers and the bullpen of Lee Yong-chan kept them in the game.
By the end of the season, NC was battling for third place with the SSG Landers and Doosan Bears, and finished fourth to advance to fall baseball. Even in the postseason, NC was ultimately criticized for falling short. In particular, there were expectations that they might fall victim to their first-ever upset in the wild-card deciding game, as their top three pitchers, Pedi, were unable to pitch due to injuries from being hit by a bat.
However, NC’s powerful batting helped them sweep the fifth-ranked Doosan in the first round, and they followed that up with three straight wins in the semifinals against SSG to reach the playoffs without a pedigree.
Miracle KT, which finished second in the playoffs after being in last place for a month, and Miracle NC, which finished fourth in the fall baseball despite being the underdogs and came to the playoffs with four consecutive postseason wins without a first-round pick, will battle for a spot in the Korean Series on April 30.
Which team’s miracle will continue to the Korean Series?