“Mom. Pedi can’t come out because he hasn’t recovered?”
That was the voice of a young fan at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on Nov. 5.
The NC Dinos’ fall baseball journey had come to an end. They lost the fifth game of the playoffs against the KT Wiz, 2-3, by one run. Three years after winning the 2020 unified championship, they’ll have to wait for the next one.
In fact, it’s safe to say that Pedi has been the most talked about player in the NC throughout this postseason. From Game 1 of the wild-card deciding game to Game 2, it’s been one of the most talked-about topics.
Pedi suffered a bruise in his last start of the regular season on March 16. He was taken out of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning against KIA after being hit in the right arm by Go Jong-wook’s bat.
Pedi dedicated himself to the team throughout the season. Without him, NC would not have been able to play fall baseball. Pedi started 30 games this season, going 20-6 with a 2.00 ERA and dominating the KBO. He led the league in ERA, wins, and strikeouts.
He also threw a lot. He pitched a lot of innings that could have been fatiguing. In total, he pitched 180⅓ innings, the most innings he’s ever pitched in a single season, including in the U.S. Still, Pedi made history by becoming the first foreigner to win 20 games and strike out 200 batters in the same season in 37 years, since Seon Dong-yeol (Hae-tae) in 1986. He was the first foreigner to win 20 games and strike out 200 batters at the same time. He won the Choi Dong-won Award, which is given to the best pitcher. He is also a favorite to win the MVP award this season.
Now that fall baseball in NC is over, there are two ways to look at Pedi: one is that he did his best to pitch, but his body didn’t allow him to do so, and the other is that he’s practically sitting out as he looks to return to the U.S. next year.
If he really wanted to save himself, he could have declared himself out for the season after the KIA game. Instead, after skipping the wild-card game and the semifinals, he started Game 1 of the playoffs. He pitched six innings (98 pitches), gave up three hits (one home run), one walk, struck out 12, and gave his team the win. The playoff record for most strikeouts was a bonus. 무지개토토
But that was it for Pedi’s fall baseball. He didn’t play anymore. With five days of rest after Game 1 of the playoffs, it seemed likely that he would be in the rotation to start Game 5, but NC’s Game 5 starter was Shin Min-hyuk. NC head coach Kang In-hwa mentioned Shin’s name after Game 4, saying, “I’m worried because Pedi’s condition hasn’t recovered 100%.” Kang had already been in a difficult situation before. Before Game 2 of the semi-finals, Kang announced that Pedi would start Game 3 of the semi-finals, but after the game, he said, “I’m sorry for being a liar,” and replaced him with Tanner Tully. NC dropped Game 3 and then lost Game 4 after Pedi wasn’t fully fit.