NC Dinos ‘Captain’ Son As-seop, who is looking to make his first ever Korean Series appearance, showed off some of his trademark quips ahead of their battle with KT Wiz. He took on best friends Jang Jang-woo and Hwang Jae-gyun in a declaration of war against Kisun.
The NC will face the KT Wiz in the first round of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason Playoffs (best-of-five) at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on April 30. The team aims to win the first game with ’20-win pitcher’ ace Eric Peddy as the starting pitcher.
The starting lineup is Son Asub (designated hitter), Park Min-woo (second base), Park Geon-woo (right field), Jason Martin (center field), Kwon Hee-dong (left field), Seo Ho-chul (third base), Oh Young-soo (first base), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher), and Kim Joo-won (shortstop).
Son started Game 1 of the Wild Card Decider against the Doosan Bears and Games 1-3 of the playoffs against the SSG Landers. Just as he did in the regular season, he has been NC’s charge leader, leading the team to an undefeated fall baseball season.
After producing a multi-hit game with a 2-for-5 performance in the wild-card deciding game, Son went 4-for-13 in three games in the semifinals with one home run, one RBI, one stolen base, two walks and three runs scored. He carried that momentum into the postseason, batting .339 (187-for-551) with five home runs, 64 RBIs, 14 doubles and an OPS of .836 in the regular season.
NC was able to enter the playoffs with four days of rest as they swept through the semifinals behind the play of their veteran hitters, including Son.
“It was actually a little hard, but I think it’s good to have a break and play the playoffs,” Son said after training before the first game of the playoffs, “and I’m going to do my best to raise the tension again from today.”
Son went 7-for-18 with a home run against KT starter William Cuevas in Game 1 of the playoffs. Cuevas was a dominant pitcher this year, going 12-0 with a 2.60 ERA in 18 games, leading KT to a second-place finish in the regular season. In the NC, he pitched six innings in Game 1, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
The fact that Cuevas is the quintessential “big game pitcher” is also a liability for the NCs. In three postseason appearances (two starts), Cuevas is 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA. In 2021, he threw seven scoreless innings in the tiebreaker against the Samsung Lions.
Son’s role will be crucial if NC is to breeze through the first round of the playoffs against the Cuevas. If he can open up the offense, it could be a huge boost for the NC bats.
“Cuevas is KT’s ace,” said Son. He has a good regular season record, but he is very strong in the short game.” “If you look at his old postseason videos, the ball is different. I don’t think his performance in the pennant race means much. Somehow, I have to make sure that I don’t miss my pitches when they come and hit them and get as many runs as possible.”
Son went on to make some provocative comments about KT’s starting catcher Jang Sung-woo and third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun. He made it clear that he doesn’t want to lose the battle on the field, even though the two have been close friends since their days at Lotte.
“KT’s pitchers are very quick, so we have to prepare well. “I’ve been competing with Jang Sung-woo since elementary school, middle school, and high school, but he’s no match for me. Even in this playoffs, I have to bully him and make sure that he gets stressed out and angry,” he laughed.
Born in 1988, Son began his professional career in 2007 when he joined Lotte. The fast 1990-born Jang Sung-woo donned a Lotte uniform the following year in 2008 and played alongside Son for seven years before being traded to KT in the middle of the 2015 season.
“He didn’t contact me specifically,” Son said. I’m sure he’ll talk to me when the game starts and distract me from focusing,” he said, laughing, “I’ve been through this so often with Kang Min-ho, so I’ll listen in one ear and let it go out the other and go on my way.”
Son then moved on to targeting another Lotte teammate, Hwang Jae-gyun. Hwang was born in 1987 and is one year older than Son. Hwang donned a Lotte jersey in a midseason trade in 2010 and shared the field with Son for six years before leaving the team as a free agent after the 2016 season. During the off-season, the pair appeared together on entertainment programs to show off their chemistry.굿모닝토토 주소
Son said, “I was in contact with Hwang Jae-gyun a lot. “We didn’t say anything nice to each other because we were always enemies,” he said, adding, “We each talked about our teams winning, but today, NC won the first game, so if Jae-gyun gets into a mood where he can make fun of his brother, I’ll give him a boost.” He made a heartfelt declaration of war.
Son’s concept for the playoffs is “like a season. It’s his first playoffs in 11 years since 2012, when he was with Lotte, but he says it doesn’t feel much different from the ‘semi-playoffs’.
“We’re going to have the same atmosphere as in the season. If we try to be more prepared for the playoffs, or if the seniors talk a lot, the juniors will think a lot. We don’t want to create that situation,” he said, adding, “We need to win three games (to advance to the Korean Series) anyway, so we want to maintain our current pace every game.”