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Ace trying to take it 'one pitch at a time' in rescheduled championship game

All Headlines 17:51 November 08, 2018

By Yoo Jee-ho

INCHEON, Nov. 8 (Yonhap) -- Trailing in the South Korean baseball championship series by one game, the Doosan Bears got a bit of assistance from Mother Nature on Thursday, when the scheduled fourth game against the SK Wyverns got rained out.

With the Wyverns holding a 2-1 lead, Game 4 of the Korean Series will instead be played Friday at SK Happy Dream Park in Incheon, the Wyverns' home. The postponement allowed the Bears to send their ace, Josh Lindblom, to the mound for Game 4, instead of unproven right-hander Lee Young-ha, who was scheduled to start Thursday.

Josh Lindblom of the Doosan Bears throws a pitch against the SK Wyverns in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 4, 2018. (Yonhap)

Lindblom was the losing pitcher in Game 1 last Sunday, when he allowed five earned runs on six hits, including two home runs, in 6 1/3 innings in the Bears' 7-3 loss. Still, Lindblom, the regular season ERA champion with a 2.88 mark, offers the Bears a far better matchup than Lee Young-ha against SK's Kim Kwang-hyun, who has pitched in eight Korean Series games before and has a 3-2 record with a 2.62 ERA on the biggest stage in the Korea Baseball Organzation (KBO).

Though Thursday's game was rained out, Lindblom and his Doosan teammates came to the park for some indoor practice. In his media scrum, Lindblom said his preparations won't change much because he was supposed to pitch Friday anyway.

"Every game is important. Not one game is any more important than the other," he said. "They're all must-wins at this point in the season."

In Game 1, Lindblom added a new kink to his delivery -- a slight pause at the top and an extra kick with his left leg before landing it -- but he didn't get the desired result. Still, Lindblom said he isn't about to change anything.

"I thought I threw the ball well in the first game. I just made two bad pitches," Lindblom said of the two homers he gave up. "I am not going to change my approach just because I made two bad pitches."

Lindblom had a worse ERA against the Wyverns than any other team during the regular season. In three starts, he was 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA, serving up three homers in 16 innings. All three starts came at SK Happy Dream Park, the KBO's most hitter-friendly park that yielded a league-high 3.28 homers per game.

The Wyverns hit three homers at the stadium in Wednesday's 7-3 victory, and have hit 13 homers in four postseason games at home this fall.

Josh Lindblom of the Doosan Bears returns to the dugout after the top of the fourth inning against the SK Wyverns in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 4, 2018. (Yonhap)

Lindblom shrugged off concerns that long balls may come into play in his start as well.

"All I am concerned about is making pitches," he said. "It doesn't matter if the fences are 30 meters or 300 meters. My goal is to execute pitches. Whatever happens after the ball leaves my hand is what happens."

As for his mindset, Lindblom said he will try to make "one pitch at a time."

"You can't get ahead of yourself," Lindblom said. "You just go out and make one pitch at a time and keep doing that over and over until somebody comes to take the ball out of my hand or the game is finished."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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