October 24, 2022
SEOUL, Oct. 24 (Yonhap) — Their teams have taken vastly different paths to reach the penultimate round of the South Korean baseball postseason, but the managers for both the LG Twins and the Kiwoom Heroes expressed confidence ahead of the opening game of their series Monday.
The LG Twins will host the Kiwoom Heroes in the best-of-five second round in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason, starting with Game 1 at Jamsil Baseball Stadium on Monday evening.
The Twins received a bye to this stage after posting the second-best record in the regular season. The Heroes got the third seed and defeated the defending champions KT Wiz in a hard-fought, five-game battle in the first round to reach this stage.
The Heroes’ clinching game over the Wiz was Saturday, but even after just one day off, their manager, Hong Won-ki, said his players are ready to go.
“I think I may be the only person who’s tired on this team,” Hong cracked during his pregame media scrum. “Our players are all fired up.”
Hong’s LG counterpart, Ryu Ji-hyun, said his players used their long layoff wisely. Their last regular season game was on Oct. 11.
“Our players were so consistent and steady throughout the regular season, and I think it really reduced risks that we will falter in the postseason,” Ryu said. “After the regular season ended, we prepared for this series without any issues. I think grabbing the early momentum will be the key in this series.”
The Twins are trying to win their first Korean Series title since 1994. They have not even played in the championship round since 2002.
Both managers made some surprise lineup decisions. Moon Sung-ju will get the start as designated hitter for the Twins, despite his late-season struggles. After a hot start, Moon batted just .149 in September and went 0-for-6 in October.
“He has some postseason experience, and I felt he could hold his own in big games,” Ryu explained of his decision. “In the postseason, we need players who could shorten their swings and make good contact.”
For the Heroes, Park Jun-tae will make his first start of this season, tasked with getting to LG’s right-handed starter Casey Kelly.
“He has done well against Kelly, and he is aggressive at the plate,” Hong said. “I felt he was the right guy to put in against Kelly.”