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KBO manager wishes rival matchup materialized later in postseason

All News 17:54 November 04, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- As a competitive soul, LG Twins manager Ryu Joong-il will embrace a postseason matchup against his team's Seoul rival and stadium co-tenant, Doosan Bears.

He only wishes the meeting had come later in the playoffs.

"I don't really have great memories against them," Ryu cracked Wednesday, before the start of the first-round playoff series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. "It would have been nice if we were playing each other in the Korean Series. We'll try to put on a good show."

LG Twins manager Ryu Joong-il speaks to reporters before Game 1 of the Korea Baseball Organization first-round playoff series against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)

Ryu was managing the Samsung Lions in 2015 when they lost to the Bears in the Korean Series, with first-year skipper Kim Tae-hyoung on the bench. And during Ryu's first regular season as the Twins' manager in 2018, the Bears won the season series 15-1. In both regular seasons and postseasons, Ryu has gone 25-43-1 (wins-losses-ties) against Kim's Bears -- hence his lament about bad memories.

For the ever-important first game of this best-of-three series, Ryu handed the ball to the 19-year-old rookie Lee Min-ho.

"I don't think he ever gets rattled on the mound," Ryu said of the right-hander who went 4-4 with a 3.69 ERA in 20 games in the regular season. "I hope he pitches the way he's capable of pitching."

Lee's counterpart will be right-hander Chris Flexen, fresh off a dominant month of October in which he was 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA. The Twins beat Flexen on May 7 in their only previous meeting against him, and Ryu said Flexen has become a much better pitcher since.

"He missed some time with injuries, and when he came back, he threw harder and his curveball looked a lot sharper," Ryu said. "I don't know what happened during his rehab. Our hitters have to get to him early, and force him to throw a lot of pitches."

In this file photo from Oct. 18, 2020, Lee Min-ho of the LG Twins pitches against the Kia Tigers during a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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