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Ace disappointed with short outing in Korean Series

Sports 16:59 October 23, 2019

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- Most pitchers would love to have Josh Lindblom's line for the Doosan Bears in Game 1 of the Korean Series against the Kiwoom Heroes from Tuesday night: five innings pitched, four hits, one earned run and five strikeouts.

But Lindblom is not most pitchers, because he likes to feast on innings and was left hungry for more Tuesday.

The American right-hander, the only 20-game winner during the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) regular season, was the no-brainer choice as the Bears' Game 1 starter at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. Lindblom got a no-decision as the Bears blew a 6-1 lead and then won 7-6 in the bottom ninth, but Lindblom wasn't concerned about not getting the W for himself.

Josh Lindblom of the Doosan Bears celebrates after inducing a double play against the Kiwoom Heroes in the top of the fourth inning of Game 1 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2019. (Yonhap)

He ran up his pitch count early and ended up throwing 90 through five innings.

"I take pride in pitching deep into games. I wasn't able to get past the fifth," Lindblom told Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday, hours before Game 2 at Jamsil. "That was the biggest disappointment for me."

The five innings pitched on Tuesday matched Lindblom's shortest outing of the season. In 30 starts, he lasted five innings just twice, and the 32-year-old workhorse led all pitchers with 194 2/3 innings.

The Bears, by virtue of finishing with the best regular season record, advanced directly to the Korean Series and hadn't played since the end of the regular season on Oct. 1. And Tuesday's start was Lindblom's first since Sept. 28.

He threw 18 pitches in the top of the first as the Heroes opened the scoring. Then in the fourth, Lindblom needed 28 pitches to retire the side.

"They did a good job of battling and of getting my pitch count up," Lindblom said. "You've got to hand it to them."

This is Lindblom's second straight Korean Series appearance. The Bears also finished first in the regular season last year and had a three-week layoff before getting thrown into the fire of championship baseball.

Lindblom said even with that one year of experience going through the extended break, the preparation wasn't any easier this time around.

Josh Lindblom of the Doosan Bears throws a pitch against the Kiwoom Heroes in Game 1 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Oct. 22, 2019. (Yonhap)

"It's tough. Honestly, that's the hardest thing about this playoff structure," he said. "You go from playing in games to not playing, and you get thrown right into the biggest games of the year. The tendency is to try to do more, and last night, I was just trying to work into that feel, and not to come out and give max effort right away. Get your rhythm, get your feel, get your timing and then go."

And once he took the mound, Lindblom said he had "complete trust in myself."

"Stepping on to the mound, I know that I am prepared and that I've watched my video. I know I've put in the work the last few weeks," he said. "I know that I am the most prepared guy on the field. You just go out and play and enjoy the moment."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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