SEOUL — Two leading pitchers in South Korean baseball this year, Erick Fedde of the NC Dinos and William Cuevas of the KT Wiz, will start Game 1 of the second round of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason on Monday. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at KT Wiz Park in Suwon, south of Seoul. The Wiz, seeded second, hold the home field advantage over the fourth-seeded Dinos in the best-of-five series.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, the NC Dinos confirmed that right-hander Fedde will make his first KBO postseason appearance. He was unable to play in the first four games of the Dinos' postseason due to an injury sustained on October 16 when a batted ball struck his right arm. Despite his absence, the Dinos won all four games. Fedde, who led the KBO with 20 wins, 209 strikeouts, and a 2.00 ERA, has been cleared to play after a bullpen session on Friday.
On the opposing side, the Wiz will counter with right-handed Venezuelan starter Cuevas. Cuevas returned to the Wiz in June after first pitching for the team from 2019 to early 2022. He went 12-0 in 18 starts this season with a 2.60 ERA across 114 1/3 innings. Cuevas expressed confidence in the Sunday practice ahead of the pivotal Game 1, stating, "I am confident against another pitcher. I did pretty well in the season, too."
Fedde has a 1-2 record with a 2.65 ERA in three regular season starts against the Wiz. In contrast, Cuevas did not get a decision in his only start against the Dinos this season, where he allowed two runs in six innings.
The top three hitters in the Dinos' lineup pose a significant challenge for Cuevas. Leadoff Son Ah-seop, No. 2 hitter Park Min-woo, and No. 3 hitter Park Kun-woo are ranked third, fourth, and second, respectively, in career batting average among all active hitters with at least 3,000 plate appearances.
The importance of Game 1 cannot be overstated in the context of the second round's history. In the 32 previous editions of the best-of-five second round, the team winning Game 1 has advanced 25 times, which translates to about a 78 percent success rate.