The “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays) has turned back the clock on his victory after a 444-day absence.
Hyun-jin Ryu started the 2023 Major League Baseball World Series home game against the Chicago Cubs at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Thursday (July 14), allowing two runs (unearned) on two hits and a walk over five innings. Utilizing his primary weapon, a changeup, he struck out three.
Toronto snapped a three-game losing streak with an 11-4 victory behind Ryu’s performance.
It was the first time in 444 days that Ryu earned a win in the big leagues since May 27 of last year, when he allowed two runs on six hits in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
In 444 days, Ryu increased his career major league win total from 75 to 76 (46-1 with one save).
It was his first win (1-0) in three games this season.
After undergoing left elbow ligament reconstruction surgery on June 19, 2022, Ryu endured a long and tedious rehabilitation and made his comeback against the Baltimore Orioles on August 2 of this year.
He took the loss in Baltimore, allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings, and pitched a no-hitter through four innings against the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 8, but was forced to leave the mound in the fifth inning after being hit on the inside of his right knee by a 157-kilometer-per-hour fastball hit by Oscar Gonzalez with two outs in the bottom of the fourth.
Luckily, there was no major damage to the knee, and Ryu returned to the mound against the Cubs on Thursday as scheduled.
Ryu got into trouble in the first inning when Toronto first baseman Brandon Belt made a throwing error at first base, and he gave up a two-run double to Dansby Swanson with runners on first and second.
However, Ryu pitched the next five innings without allowing an earned run to earn the win. He lowered his season ERA from 4.00 to 2.57.
The victory was especially gratifying because it came against a Cubs offense that had scored 183 runs in the second half of the season over the previous 28 games.
Ryu struck out the first batter he faced, Christopher Morel, with a 125-mile-per-hour changeup in the first inning.
However, he gave up his first hit of the night to Nico Horner on a full count (three balls and two strikes) when his 146 mph fastball was ruled a ball.
Ryu induced Ian Happ to ground into an infield single with a changeup, but the first baseman’s belt flipped the ball behind him, putting runners on first and second.
After getting his former Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Cody Bellinger to fly out to left field, Ryu put runners on first and second with two outs when he hit Swanson with a 145-mile-per-hour fastball low to the body that cleared the third baseman’s side for a two-run double.
The official scorer recorded the run as an unearned run that Ryu was not responsible for, as it was a result of Belt’s error.
Ryu got Seiya Suzuki, the first Japanese batter he faced, to fly out to right field to end the first inning.
After throwing 31 pitches in the first inning, Ryu threw 55 pitches in the second through fifth innings and didn’t allow another run.
Ryu struck out Patrick Wisdom on a full count with a 128-mile-per-hour changeup, got Nick Madrigal to ground out to third base on a curveball and Miguel Amaya to fly out to center field on a fastball to end the second inning with a triple play.
The Toronto bats also gave Ryu a boost.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, with runners on first and second, Dolton Basho hit a three-run shot over the right field wall.
With runners on first and second, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. singled to left and George Springer followed with a single to right to put Toronto up 5-2.
In the third inning, the Jays had some good and bad luck, with Morel’s first pitch sailing just wide of the left field fence and Horner’s shot landing in front of the center field fence.
A weight was lifted off Ryu’s shoulders when Toronto catcher Danny Jansen made an accurate throw to first base to nab Horner as he tried to steal second on Happ’s at-bat.
Ryu then got Happ to fly out to right field to end the third inning.
In the fourth inning, Ryu got off to a shaky start by walking Bellinger on a full count.
But he got Swanson on a cut fastball and Suzuki on a changeup to right field to get the next two outs.
He then threw a changeup to Wisdom, who struck out swinging.
The Toronto offense helped Ryu in the bottom of the fourth, combining four hits and a walk to score three runs. Basho added a two-run double in the fourth, giving him five hits on the day (2-for-5).
Energized, Ryu struck out Madrigal, Amaya, and Morel in order in the top of the fifth to end the inning.
On the day, Ryu threw 86 pitches through five innings.
His fastball (40) velocity was similar to his previous two outings, with a top speed of 147 km/h (91.1 mph) and an average of 142 km/h (88.4 mph), but his offspeed pitches stood out.
His primary weapon, the changeup (24), was sharply down. All three of Ryu’s strikeouts came on changeups.
Ryu also utilized his cutter (12) and curve (10) effectively.
Ryu also threw a two-hit shutout against Suzuki in the “little Japan-Korea game. Ryu lowered his average against Japanese hitters to 5-for-17 (.294 batting average).
Against his former Dodger teammate, Bellinger went 1-for-1 with a walk.
Former Hanwha Eagle Mike Tuckman (Cubs) sat out the game.
Toronto won the final day of the 17-game series on the backs of Ryu Hyun-jin.
Toronto reshuffled its starting rotation from six to five, 먹튀검증 sending Alec Manoa down to the minors and leaving Ryu as the starter.
Ryu will take the mound for the remainder of the season in Toronto’s quest for a postseason berth and a win.