It was a game that once again confirmed why it was bound to leave its name in the history of the KBO League. The two-week gap was not an obstacle at all for ’20-win ace’ Eric Peddie (NC Dinos).
Peddy started the away match against KT Wiz in the first game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League Postseason Playoffs (PO) held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on the 30th and pitched 98 pitches in 6 innings, allowing 3 hits (1 home run) and 1 walk. He recorded a quality start (less than 3 earned runs in 6 innings) with 12 strikeouts and 1 run (1 earned run), leading the team to its first win.
The news of Peddie entering the KBO League this year caught the attention of many. This was inevitable because Peddie was an ‘active big leaguer’ who played full-time hand and foot rotation for the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, numerous players with ‘name value’ have entered the KBO league. However, not everyone performed as expected, but Peddie’s performance was worthy of his name and experience.
In April alone, Peddie appeared in 6 games, pitched 38 innings, and swept a whopping 4 wins, while his average ERA was only 0.47. Although he was pushed out of the fan vote and was unable to win the monthly MVP title, there was no doubt that an active big leaguer had entered the KBO League. And Peddie pitched in a total of 30 games, pitched 180⅓ innings, and left an all-time record of 20 wins, 6 losses, and an ERA of 2.00. And this incredible performance was also linked to a record.
Pedi achieved the ‘Triple Crown’ this year, a record that only ‘National Treasure’ Sun Dong-yeol (19986, 1989, 1990, 1991), ‘Korean Monster’ Ryu Hyun-jin (2006), and Yoon Seok-min (2011) achieved. He was the ‘first’ as a foreign player, as only three native players recorded in KBO league history. In addition, he is the 5th player to have 20 wins and 200 strikeouts, following Choi Dong-won, Dong-yeol Dong, Jang Myeong-bu, and Kim Si-jin, who are called ‘legends’, and he is also the first foreigner to do so. As of now, there is a very high possibility that he will even win the regular season MVP.
Peddie left a huge impact during the regular season. However, ‘Ace’ disappeared from the postseason stage for a while. This is why his forearm was hit by a ball hit by Ko Jong-wook during a match against the KIA Tigers on the 16th. Although no major problems were found as a result of the examination, it was not easy to play in the wild card (WC) match and semi-playoff (semi-PO) stage. Even in a situation where Peddie left the line, NC secured a ticket to the playoffs, and the ace finally returned.
Prior to the game, Peddie’s questions inevitably poured out to manager Kang In-kwon, and the head coach said, “It appears that Peddy’s physical condition has fully recovered. For now, I don’t think we can set the number of pitches. It may change depending on the game situation.” “It is possible. However, I think it is possible up to 100 pitches. Although I did not see the bullpen pitching in person, the fact that he threw more than 40 pitches from the bullpen shows that he is almost fully recovered. His condition does not look too bad,” he expressed his expectations. .
Although it was his first appearance on the mound in two weeks since the KIA game on the 16th, there was no gap. Pedi was perfect and powerful from the start. Peddy got off to a good start by catching leadoff hitter Kim Sang-soo with a grounder to shortstop in the first inning, tied up Jae-gyun Hwang with a grounder to shortstop, and then used a 135km sweeper as the winning shot on Anthony Alford on the 5th pitch, eliminating the strikeouts to get off to a three-way start. I hung up. And in the second inning, the central batting line of Byung-ho Park and Seong-woo Jang struck out in succession, and the follow-up hitter Cho Yong-ho ended the inning with solid defensive help from second baseman Park Min-woo.
Peddie’s first run came in the bottom of the third inning. Peddie faced leadoff hitter Moon Sang-cheol and threw a 153km two-seamer on the fifth pitch at a disadvantageous count of 3B-1S, which Moon Sang-cheol pulled with all his might, allowing a solo home run that went over the right wall. Then, Peddie was shaken by giving up an infield hit that hit the second base and bounced to the follow-up batter Bae Jeong-dae. However, he did not concede any additional goals. After striking out Park Gyeong-soo, Peddie erased the lead runner on Kim Sang-soo’s ground ball to shortstop, and also struck out Hwang Jae-gyun, showing off his power.
The most impressive pitch was in the 4th inning. Peddie faced a strong line of Alford, Park Byeong-ho, and Jang Seong-woo, and created a ‘KKK’ inning by using a 132km sweeper, 152km two-seam, and 131km sweeper as the winning shot. The second crisis was also overcome well. Peddie faced a crisis at first and second base by giving up a walk and a hit, as he showed signs of violent protest against the umpire’s ball decision while on defense in the bottom of the fifth inning. However, he ended the inning with two strikeouts and a fly ball to center field, resulting in three out counts.
Peddie was on the mound in the 6th inning as usual. He then struck out leadoff hitter Hwang Jae-gyun with a 135km sweeper and tied Alford with a fly ball to center field. He also struck out Park Byeong-ho with a 135km sweeper, completing his mission and handing the mound over to the bullpen. And although NC hit an unexpected grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning, they succeeded in defeating KT with a score of 9-5 and had a 78.1% chance of advancing to the Korean Series.굿모닝토토 주소
On this day, Peddie mainly used a 155km two-seam fastball (37 pitches) and a sweeper (49 pitches), and threw a mix of changeups (7 pitches) and cutters (4 pitches), holding the KT batting line to 1 run in 6 innings. And in this process, he struck out a total of 12, surpassing Sun Dong-yeol in 1989 and Chris Flexen in 2020 (11) and setting a new record for the most strikeouts in a single playoff game. And 8 of them were sweepers. It was truly a day for sweepers to dance. It was a pitch that truly showed the dignity of the ‘20-win ace’. Peddie was selected as Daily MVP.