Go to Contents Go to Navigation

American right-hander overpowering in KBO postseason debut

All News 21:04 November 04, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Nov. 4 (Yonhap) -- His own manager had been concerned about his ability to handle postseason nerves, but Doosan Bears' right-hander Chris Flexen looked completely in control on the mound on Wednesday.

The American ace struck out 11 in six overpowering innings against the LG Twins to open the first-round playoff series in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). He gave up just four singles and a walk and let the bullpen take over with a 4-0 lead.

Chris Flexen of the Doosan Bears pitches against the LG Twins in Game 1 of the Korea Baseball Organization first-round playoff series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)

During his pregame media availability, Doosan manager Kim Tae-hyoung said he hoped Flexen wouldn't try to do too much in his postseason debut, and or get caught up in the moment.

Kim needn't have worried.

Flexen was one of the league's best starters in October, with a 4-0 record, 0.85 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings. He wrapped up his regular season with 13 2/3 shutout innings and 22 strikeouts over his final two starts, and then picked up right where he left off on Wednesday.

Flexen struck out the first batter of the game, Hong Chang-ki, and the tone was set. After a one-out walk, Flexen struck out the next two batters to complete the first inning.

Chris Flexen of the Doosan Bears pitches against the LG Twins in the top of the fourth inning of Game 1 of the Korea Baseball Organization first-round playoff series at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)

Flexen then struck out two batters in each of the next three innings, giving himself nine through four innings against just two singles.

The flip side of that early dominance was he ran his pitch count to 71 through those four frames, keeping the Bears' oft-shaky bullpen on its toes.

The Twins put a man in scoring position for the first time in the fifth inning, when Kim Min-sung singled and moved to second on a fielder's choice grounder. Pinch hitter Park Yong-taik grounded out to second on the first pitch and let Flexen off the hook.

Perhaps fittingly, Flexen struck out the last batter he faced, fanning cleanup Roberto Ramos for the third straight time on his 106th pitch. As he walked off the mount, Flexen fired up the crowd and mouthed the words "Let's go!" in a rare display of emotion. Of his 11 strikeouts, nine were of the swinging variety.

Chris Flexen of the Doosan Bears encourages his teammates after the top of the fifth inning of Game 1 of the Korea Baseball Organization first-round playoff series against the LG Twins at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Nov. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)

It was Flexen's counterpart, rookie right-hander Lee Min-ho, who showed signs of nerves early. Lee, 19, hit the first batter he faced, Heo Kyoung-min, with his first pitch. Then two pitches later, Jose Miguel Fernandez smacked a two-run home run to right field for a quick 2-0 lead.

Lee gave up another run in the fourth before leaving the game with one out and bases loaded in that frame. Reliever Jin Hae-soo got Fernandez to ground into an inning-ending double play. Lee was charged with three runs on five hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings. He struck out four.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
(END)

HOME TOP
Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!