KT Wiz right-hander William Cuevas pitched a gem of a game.
Cuevas started Game 4 of the best-of-five playoff series against the NC Dinos in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League postseason at NC Park in Changwon on Thursday. He pitched six innings, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out three. His quality start (six innings of three earned runs or less) helped KT to an 11-2 victory. Cuevas was named the game’s MVP.
Despite taking the mound on three days’ rest, Cuevas proved why he is considered an ace. In Game 1 of the playoffs on March 30, Cuevas went three innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) on six hits, one home run, two walks, and two strikeouts. He threw 75 pitches. Lee asked Cuevas to be ready for Game 4, and Cuevas readily accepted the offer.
During his short break, Cuevas worked hard to make himself useful to the team. He pored over data with the power analytics team and analyzed NC’s batters. He tried to find the cause of his poor performance in Game 1 and worked on his physical condition to recover from fatigue quickly. Cuevas pitched a perfect game in Game 4.굿모닝토토
After the game, Cuevas said, “Unlike the first game, the game went the way I thought it would. It was fun,” he said. He added, “The guys played good defense. At the plate, they gave me a lot of run support. It was fun,” he said, giving credit to his teammates.
At the end of the sixth inning, Cuevas had only thrown 73 pitches. He could have pitched more, but he turned the mound over to Son Dong-hyun. “After the sixth inning, Lee asked me what I wanted to do. I said I wanted to throw more, but my teammates told me not to push myself. I consulted with the coaching staff again and told them I was done,” Cuevas said.
This is not the first time Cuevas has shown his fighting spirit. On October 28, 2021, after throwing 108 pitches in seven innings against the Suwon NC, Cuevas started again in the tiebreaker against the Samsung Lions in Daegu, throwing 99 pitches in seven innings. KT finished the regular season in first place and went on to win the Korean Series.
Cuevas is strong in big games. When asked about his secret, he laughed and said, “I’m going to thank God before I go to sleep tonight.” He also revealed that he was a little tired, saying, “I want to rest more and throw better in the next game.”
Even the head coach praised Cuevas. Lee Kang-cheol said, “Cuevas did a great job like an ace. I thought about pitching the seventh inning, but I cut it off at the right line. Compared to Game 1, he was definitely throwing lighter. He had a big slider angle and was able to get the hitters to swing at it. In Game 1, I had a lot of power and my slider was getting pushed in. Today he threw good pitches,” he said, giving himself a thumbs-up.
“Cuevas took a lot of responsibility. The offense helped him with a lot of runs. Cuevas was able to relax, but we were able to win because he didn’t lose his focus,” he said, smiling at Cuevas’ performance.
Thanks to Cuevas’ performance, KT has won two straight games in the playoffs after two consecutive losses and will now look to complete the reverse sweep. Only twice in the best-of-five playoffs has a team started the Korean Series with three straight wins after two straight losses. The odds are 11.7%. In 1996, the Hyundai Unicorns defeated the Ssangbangwool Raiders, and in 2009, the SK Wyverns pulled off a reverse sweep of the Doosan Bears. It will be interesting to see if KT can pull off a miracle.