Can Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, Toronto Blue Jays, break the “magic five innings” barrier and silence local long-term contract skeptics in Texas?
Hyun-jin Ryu will take the mound for the second game of a four-game series against the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball’s 2023 World Series at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at 8:07 a.m. ET on Wednesday. Ryu is 3-2 with a 2.65 ERA this season, allowing 15 runs (10 earned) on 28 hits with eight walks and 28 strikeouts in 34 innings pitched. He will look for his fourth win of the season against Texas.
Earlier, the Jays announced their starting pitchers for the four-game home series against the Texas Rangers from April 12-15. According to the organization, Chris Bassett will take the mound on April 12, followed by Ryu Hyun-jin on April 13, Yusei Kikuchi on April 14, and Kevin Gausman on April 15.
Ryu has been rehabbing for about a year and two months after undergoing elbow ligament splicing surgery (Tommy John surgery) last June. Ryu made his comeback game against the Baltimore Orioles on May 2. Against a team in first place in the American League East, Ryu took the loss, allowing four runs (four earned) on nine hits (one home run) with one walk and three strikeouts in five innings.
But that wasn’t the end of his struggles. On August 8 against Cleveland, he pitched four innings of one-hit ball without allowing a single hit, striking out one and walking two. He threw 52 pitches. There’s a reason this game is particularly disappointing. It was the only time in the seven games so far that Ryu was on pace to go more than six innings. However, in the fourth inning of that game, Ryu was hit in the knee by a hard-hit ball from an opposing batter and went down, leaving the mound. It was just bad luck.
Ryu has gone five innings in six of his last seven starts, four innings in one… can he go six this time?
Luckily, it wasn’t a major injury, and Ryu went on to win three consecutive starts: five innings, two hits, two walks, three strikeouts, and two runs (two earned) against the Cubs on Aug. 14; five innings, four hits, one walk, seven strikeouts, and two runs (unearned) against Cincinnati on Aug. 21; and five innings, four hits (two homers), five walks, and three runs (two earned) against Cleveland on Aug. 28. He followed that up with five innings of four-hit ball (one homer), two walks, three strikeouts and two runs against Colorado on Sept. 2 at Coors Field, and then five innings of five-hit ball (one homer), one walk, five strikeouts and two runs against Oakland on Sept. 7. He has pitched five or more innings in five straight games and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last six starts since May 8 against Cleveland.
He pitched five innings in six of the seven games, and only pitched four innings in the one game where he was on perfect pace. The reasons are clear. Ryu is just returning to the mound after rehabbing from elbow ligament reconstruction surgery, so he’ll need to manage his pitch count just as carefully in practice as he did in the minors before returning to the majors. However, Ryu has been able to use his velocity control to cook major league hitters. His average fastball velocity is 88.4 mph, which ranks in the bottom two percent of the league, but metrics like hard hit (95+ mph batted ball velocity) and barrel batted ball suppression are among the best. His manager is also singing his praises. According to Canadian outlet Sportsnet, Toronto manager John Schneider recently said, “I was hoping Ryu would return during the offseason. Since he’s been back, he’s not only been his old (good) self, but he’s been showing additional aspects. The fact that he’s been pitching well has been a bonus.”
Schneider is keeping a close eye on Ryu’s pitch count. Ryu threw 80 pitches (Aug. 2 at Baltimore), 52 pitches (Aug. 8 at Cleveland), 86 pitches (Aug. 14 at Chicago Cubs), 83 pitches (Aug. 21 at Cincinnati), 70 pitches (Aug. 27 at Cleveland), 76 pitches (Sept. 2 at Colorado), and 77 pitches (Sept. 7 at Oakland). With the exception of the game where he took a hard hit to the knee, he’s been throwing between a minimum of 70 pitches and a maximum of 86 pitches per five innings. For now, that means he’s managing to get to around 70 pitches while staying under 90. Of course, Ryu has been on the mound in the sixth inning before. But it’s only been in two games, and the results weren’t pretty, with four hits and two walks, one of which was a walk-off home run.
‘No multi-year contract for Ryu if he keeps pitching only five innings’ criticism from local media in the U.S.
Still, if Ryu can minimize the number of pitches he throws in the early innings and finish the game quickly, he could break the “five-inning” barrier. If so, his value could increase even more when he becomes a free agent after this season. Ryu’s ability to go the distance has also been covered in the U.S. recently. “If Ryu continues to pitch only five innings for the remainder of the season, he will not be considered a starter worth more than a fifth starter,” wrote Bleacher Report on Tuesday, adding that he is “unlikely to be guaranteed a multi-year contract.”
“Five innings has become a fixed value for Ryu. If that continues for the rest of the season, it’s hard to see him as anything more than a fifth starter.” “If he can pitch six or more innings against the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Yankees in the remaining games of the season, he’ll get noticed.” In other words, if he proves his worth against the traditional powerhouses in the remaining games, he could increase his value even more.
“Ryu could sign a one-year, $12 million contract next season with bonuses based on the number of starts he makes and an option for a second year,” Bleacher Report said. However, Bleacher Report also noted that “Ryu struggled in 2021 (4.37 ERA). It was widely expected that he would not be able to come close to the form that earned him two Cy Young Award finalists between 2018 and 2020. However, Ryu has been surprisingly good since returning to the mound.”카지노사이트
Of course, there were local reports that were optimistic about the multi-year deal. MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, mentioned Ryu’s name on Aug. 8 in a list of nine prospective free agents who need to finish the 2023 season strong. MLB.com wrote, “Typically, it takes pitchers some time to get back on track after returning from elbow ligament splicing surgery. But not Ryu. In seven starts since removing his name from the disabled list, Ryu has posted a sparkling 2.65 ERA and 1.06 WHIP (walks allowed per inning) in 34 innings. Ryu was praised for filling the five-man void left by Alec Manoa, who was sent down to the minors twice this season.
◆ First time facing ‘living legend’ Max Scherzer… ‘Good news for Hyun-jin Ryu’ as Texas faces steep decline
Toronto’s fall baseball fate is also at stake. Currently, the Jays are 80-63 (.559 winning percentage) and in third place in the American League East. The Baltimore Orioles are actually in first place in the division. They have a 10.5-game lead over Toronto and a 7.5-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays, who are second in the division and first in the wild card. That means they need to finish in the top three wild card spots. Currently, Toronto is the second wild card in the American League. The Seattle Mariners (79 wins, 64 losses) are one game back, and Texas (78 wins, 64 losses) are 1.5 games back. That’s why this four-game series against Texas is so important. A win for Toronto would give them more ground, but a loss to Texas could push them out of the final wild card spot.
Ryu’s opponent will be three-time Cy Young Award winner and living legend Max Scherzer (39, Texas Rangers). This will be the first time Ryu has faced Scherzer since he entered the major leagues. Scherzer, who has been called “the best pitcher alive,” has appeared in 456 career games since making his major league debut in 2008, compiling a 213-108 record with 3,365 strikeouts and a 3.15 ERA. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2013 and the National League Cy Young Award in 2016 and 2017. Even at his age, Scherzer is still 12-6 with a 3.91 ERA and 172 strikeouts this season. Scherzer was acquired from the New York Mets to the Texas Rangers in a trade at the trade deadline in late July. After going 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA with the Mets this season, he improved to 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA with Texas. He lowered his BABIP from 0.240 to 0.175 and his WHIP (walks allowed per inning) from 1.19 to 0.98.
Add to that the fact that Texas is on a downward spiral, and it’s a good thing for Ryu. Texas is just 6-16 with a .273 winning percentage in its last 22 games, including an eight-game losing streak from Aug. 17-26. In their last four wins (Aug. 19-Sept. 9), they led eight games and gave up a run in the seventh inning or later, according to CBS Sports, indicating a weak bullpen. The starters aren’t exactly perfect either. Scherzer was blown up for seven runs in three innings in Houston on July 7. However, the power is there, as the team currently leads the American League in batting average (.266), team runs scored (777), and team OPS (.791). Among the hitters, you’ll want to watch out for Adolis Garcia, who has 34 home runs and is approaching the 100-RBI plateau. Corey Seager, Ryu’s former teammate with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is also hitting .336 (134-for-399) with 30 home runs, 87 RBIs, and a 1.050 OPS in 99 games, ranking second on the team in home runs and first in OPS. How will Ryu fare against a Texas lineup loaded with such power hitters, and will he break the “Ma’s 5 innings” barrier?