After a brief lull in August, baseball’s NC foreign-born pitcher Eric Peddy has regained his form as the league’s best pitcher. He even raised his chances of winning the pitching title.
Pedi started the game against Kiwoom at Changwon NC Park on August 5, allowing just two hits over seven innings while striking out 11 to lead the team to a 2-1 victory.
NC moved up one spot from fifth to fourth place by half a game over KIA, whose game was canceled due to rain the same day, and extended its winning streak against Kiwoom to five games and its home winning streak to five games.
NC, which is in a five-way tie for first place, laughed at Peddie’s health. After leading the league in wins and ERA with a 14-2 record and a 1.74 ERA in 17 games through July, Pedi faltered in August, giving up a pair of big runs. He was roughed up for five runs on nine hits in four innings against Lotte on Aug. 2, and then he gave up seven runs on eight hits and three walks in three innings against KIA on Aug. 31. These are Pedi’s lowest innings and highest runs allowed this season. After this game, Pedi’s ERA rose to 2.39.
Concerns about his stamina and poor command of his pitches grew, but in September, Peddy bounced back. Throwing 97 pitches over seven innings, Peddie used a powerful two-seam fastball that topped out at 155 mph (37 pitches) and a mix of curveballs (35), changeups (11), and cutters (10) to keep the Keum bats in check. It was a dominant performance on the mound that showed why he’s the best pitcher in the game this season.
The NC bats were held scoreless by Kiwoom starter Ian McKinney through five innings, but Park Gun-woo broke the tie with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth. Lee Yong-chan gave up a run in relief, but no further runs were allowed to preserve the one-run margin. With the win, Pedi improved to 17 wins on the season (6-0) and lowered his ERA to 2.28, moving back to the top of the league, ahead of Doosan’s Raul Alcantara (2.37) and Kiwoom’s An Woo-jin (2.39). He also struck out 11 batters, closing the gap on the leader in that category, Ahn Woo-jin (164), to four. With Ahn already out for the season due to injury, Pedi’s chances of overtaking her are high.
It’s also not out of the question for him to win the “Triple Crown” of pitching, where he leads the league 안전놀이터 in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. He could become the fourth pitcher in history to do so, joining Sun Dong-yeol (1986, 1989-1991), Ryu Hyun-jin (2006), and Yoon Seok-min (2011). He would be the first foreign pitcher to do so. If Pedi can accomplish all of this, he will also be one step ahead in the regular season MVP race.
Meanwhile, Lotte pounded out 13 hits to defeat Samseong 10-3 at home in Ulsan. SSG defeated last-place Hanwha 11-6 behind a 4-for-4 performance from veteran Han Yoo-seom, including a home run.