A prelude to a counterattack
KT's Lee Kang-Cheol's key point in the second half
Emphasize the importance of late-season starting battles
"I think the starting battle will be important."
KT Wiz is the biggest beneficiary of the last three games of the first half. A total of six games were canceled in three days due to rainy weather across the country, and the Gocheok KT-Keum Heroes was the only game in the three-game series to be played normally.
KT swept the three-game series against Kiwoom to end the first half of the season with a record of 37 wins, 2 draws, and 41 losses. The seventh-ranked KT narrowed the gap to the fourth-ranked NC Dinos to 2.5 games, and turned around the mood that had hit rock bottom with four straight losses.
KT head coach Lee Kang-cheol said, "We lost three games in a row against KIA, and the middle pitchers were tired, so I understood. It's good that they had time to recharge during the break," he said. "The starters pitched well, limiting them to two or three runs, especially (Uhm) Sang-baek (two runs in seven innings) in the last game," he reflected.
The finale of the three-game series was highlighted by back-to-back strong performances from the starting pitching staff. Ace Young-pyo Ko extended his streak of quality starts (QS) to seven games (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less), while Wes Benjamin pitched a season-best 7⅔ innings of 2-run relief. And William Cuevas did his part with 6⅔ innings of three-run ball.
"The starters were tired," Lee said, "and it's a dome, so it wasn't hot. Benjamin and Cuevas pitched much better," he said.
He pointed to starting pitching as a key to the second half of the season. "We need our starters to maintain their good form in the second half. If you win the starting battle, you won't lose the game even if you face the opponent's ace. I think the starting battle will be important," he emphasized.
KT has been plagued by injuries throughout the season this year, including a three-week diagnosis of a big toe injury suffered by Choi Sung-ho against Gochuk Kiwoom on March 13.
KT, which emphasized the performance of its starters, needs to avoid any more injuries. "(Cho) Yong-ho is out, but (Kang) Baek-ho is back, so the main players are almost back," 고스톱 Lee said, emphasizing that "the best scenario is to play the second half without injuries."