A starting pitcher who didn’t last five innings is receiving a baptism of praise from the local media. That’s because he’s Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Ryu pitched 4⅔ innings of six-hit ball with two walks and two strikeouts in the third game of the Blue Jays’ three-game home series against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday (Sept. 16) at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to help the Blue Jays complete a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. With the three-game sweep, Toronto moved into the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Ryu was in trouble in the second inning. As usual, he threw his 90-mph four-seam fastball with a mix of pitches – sinker, curve, cutter, and changeup – but his decisive pitches, the curve and changeup, fell prey to Boston’s hitters, and he was unable to get out of the fifth inning. But as the record shows, no runs were allowed. That’s why he lowered his ERA from 2.93 to 2.62 in 4⅔ innings.
In the second inning, back-to-back singles by Rafael Devers (infield single) and Adam Duvall (double) put runners on second and third with no outs. Ryu didn’t panic and induced a grounder to shortstop Pablo Reyes that was followed by a fielder’s choice to shortstop Bo Bissett. He then got Trevor Story to fly out to center and Bobby Dalbec to fly out to right.
With a one-run lead, the third inning started with runners on second and third, again with back-to-back singles to leadoff man Liz McGuire and Sedan Rafaela. This time, he got Rob Lefsnider to fly out to left and Justin Turner to ground out to third to get out of the jam, then got Duvall to fly out to right on a 90.3 mph (145 km/h) four-seam fastball.
With runners on second and third in the fourth inning and still up 1-0, Ryu walked Lefsnider with one out in the fifth. He then used a cutter against Turner for a strikeout, but gave up a six-pitch walk to Devers and was already replaced by Garcia with the win requirement in sight. He threw 83 pitches (54 for strikes).
Despite not getting out of the fifth inning and being denied his fourth win of the season in four games, Ryu was well-received by the local media. Canadian media outlet Sportsnet said after the game, “Ryu faced runners on second and third in the third inning, but he worked himself out of a tough situation. He got Duvall to fly out to right field with the bases loaded after Devers singled,” highlighting Ryu’s crisis management skills.
“Ryu didn’t make it out of the fifth inning, but he was able to hold off the Boston lineup,” said CBS Sports, which praised the right-hander, saying, “Since returning from Tommy John surgery in early August, Ryu is 3-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 44⅔ innings over nine starts.”
Canadian media outlet TSN also gave Ryu a thumbs-up for his steadfastness. “Once again, Ryu proved his ability to skillfully manage clutch situations. In the second and third innings against Boston, he had runners on second and third with no outs, but on both occasions, he recorded three consecutive outs to avoid giving up a run. He then struck out the side in the fourth inning with a runner on third base. Boston left 12 runners on base and went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.”메이저놀이터
Toronto will take a day off before returning to action for a three-game series against the New York Yankees in New York starting on the 20th. Ryu’s next start will likely be on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays on the 24th.
Toronto’s recent three-game winning streak has moved them to 83-67 and into second place in the American League wild-card race. The No. 1 wild card is Tampa Bay (92-59), which has clinched a postseason berth with an 8.5-game lead over Toronto.
Texas dropped three of four in Cleveland recently to fall to 82-67, half a game behind Toronto for the third wild card. Seattle also lost three straight to the Los Angeles Dodgers to fall to 81-68 and 1.5 games behind Toronto. Texas hosts Boston for a three-game series and Seattle hosts Oakland for a three-game series.