Ryu Hyun-jin, the “Korean Monster,” pitched his best start of the season, his first quality start (6 innings, 3 earned runs or less) in 480 days since returning from Tommy John surgery. However, there were two points of disappointment. A four-game homerless streak and a silent offense.
Ryu made his first quality start since returning from surgery, throwing 82 pitches, allowing five hits (one home run), one walk, five strikeouts and three runs (three earned) in six innings at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on June 13, but was saddled with his third loss of the season. His ERA rose from 2.65 to 2.93.
Ryu, who is being closely monitored by the club after undergoing Tommy John surgery, was disappointed to be saddled with a loss in his comeback. However, he began to show his true colors in the second game. After a four-inning “no-hitter” against the Cleveland Indians, Ryu pitched a solid five-inning, two-run outing against the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland to complete a personal three-game winning streak.
The problem was September. Ryu threw five innings of two-run ball at Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, a team he had struggled against throughout his career, and he also threw five innings of two-run ball against the Oakland Athletics in his last start. Against Colorado, however, the bullpen was unable to preserve the win, and against Oakland, the offense was silent and did its part, but couldn’t get the win.
Hyun-jin Ryu’s lack of wins has put him in the middle of the rotation at a time when Toronto is in the thick of things. With 13 games remaining, Toronto was in the second wild-card spot in the American League, but trailing Texas by half a game and the Seattle Mariners by one game. Hyun-jin Ryu pitched his best game since Tommy John surgery, but the one home run was too much.
Ryu Hyun-jin was perfect in his first game
Ryu had a solid start to the game. The only blemish was a single in the first inning. Ryu got leadoff hitter Marcus Semien to fly out to center field and then Corey Seager to ground out to second base to end the Semien-Seager combo, one of the strongest “table-setters” in the majors. He then gave up a walk to Robbie Grossman, but got the next batter, Mitch Garber, to fly out to center field to end the no-hitter.
The Texas offense is so potent that it ranks second among the 30 major league clubs in team batting average and third in OPS, both of which are tops in the American League. That didn’t seem to bother Ryu, though. In the second inning, Ryu got help from Cavan Biggio on a hard-hit grounder to third base by Jonah Heim and retired the next two batters, Nate Lowe and Ezequiel Duran, for his first “three-hit” inning.
The flawless pitching continued in the third inning. Ryu got leadoff hitter Leodi Taveras to pop out to first base for the first out. He then faced Jonathan Oneras and got the first out of the inning with a five-pitch 89.9-mph fastball to the side of the plate. He then got his former Toronto teammate Semien to ground out to shortstop, shutting down the best offense in the American League.
Two games in a row of really slow home runs
Ryu Hyun-jin had pitched five solid innings of two-run baseball in five consecutive games before this one. While it didn’t have much of an impact on the win-loss record, Ryu did give up two home runs against the Cleveland Indians on March 27. He also gave up one homer against the Colorado Rockies on April 2 at Coors Field. While the high altitude of Coors Field tends to give batters more distance, the back-to-back homers were certainly disappointing.
The fastest home run Ryu has given up this season came in his last start. With a 1-0 lead against the Oakland Athletics, Ryu sent a five-pitch fastball low and away from the body to Carlos Perez for a two-run homer. The Toronto offense, which had provided plenty of run support when Ryu was on the mound, went silent in the game, and the homer was the final straw for Ryu as he took his second loss of the season.
The home run should have been the last thing on Ryu’s mind on this day, and his fears were realized. After holding Texas in check through three innings, Ryu opened the fourth with a leadoff single to Seager, his first pitch of the game. Ryu used a cutter to get Seager to hit, and then opted for a cutter on the next pitch to Grossman, but it was in the middle of the strike zone instead of on Grossman’s body, leading to a leadoff home run over the left field fence.
The impact of the home run was significant, as the opposing starter was three-time Cy Young Award winner and Major League Baseball Living Legend Max Scherzer, who had pitched a flawless game, but the good news was that Haim was able to hold the Texas lineup without allowing a run despite the third hit of the night.
First quality start since returning (6 innings, 3 earned runs or less)
Ryu gave up a home run and struggled to get any support from his offense. But the veteran’s character shone through. In the fifth inning, Ryu struck out Taveras on the fastest pitch of the day, a 90.6-mph (145.8-kilometer) fastball, and then retired the next two batters, Oneras and Semien, for two runs in five innings.
Ryu has often not taken the mound in the sixth inning, even when he’s cruising through five innings of two-run ball under Toronto’s careful management. This night was different. Ryu had only thrown 62 pitches at the end of the fifth inning, and there was no reason not to use him in the sixth, so manager John Schneider decided to keep him in the game, as he was doing a good job of shutting down the Texas lineup.
The sixth inning was obviously disappointing. But the first quality start was significant. Ryu got into trouble in the top of the sixth when he gave up a double to Seager. He struck out Grossman to give himself some breathing room, but Garber followed with a single to put runners on first and third. But Ryu didn’t falter. In this situation, a “kill shot” would have been the best play, but Ryu calmly induced a grounder to Haim, giving him the option to trade one out for one run.
And finally, the quality start was complete. Toronto had their bullpen ready to go in case Ryu got a hit or loaded the bases. But Ryu induced a foul swing on a four-seam 89.3 mph (143.7 km/h) fastball from Lowe on the next two pitches, sending it high and out of the strike zone, and got out of the inning without allowing another run. It was Ryu’s first quality start in 480 days since May 21 against Cincinnati last year.
Toronto’s bats are silent again, and even their best pitching falls short.
Hyun-jin Ryu took the mound after holding Oakland to two runs in five innings in his previous start, but his inability to capitalize on the major league’s “weakest” pitching staff left him with a 2-5 record and his second loss of the season despite a solid outing. Today’s pitching was no different. Despite the quality start, the Toronto offense didn’t respond.
Scherzer and Ryu faced off. It was Texas that broke the tie first. Texas struck first in the fourth inning when Grossman hit a leadoff home run off Ryu with the bases loaded after Seager’s single. In the sixth inning, Seager’s double and Garber’s single put runners on first and third with one out, but Heim traded an out for a single of his own to extend the lead to 3-0.
The rally continued for the Texas offense. After Hyun-jin Ryu left the game, Toronto brought in “must-win” Yimi Garcia for the final out. But Garcia gave up back-to-back doubles to Taveras and Josh Smith to make it 0-4, and when Tim Maiza took over the baton again and gave up an RBI single to Seager, the game was firmly in Texas’ favor.
The problem was the Toronto lineup. There’s no denying that Scherzer has had an incredible career. But he’s not completely unhittable. Toronto had runners in scoring position in the bottom of the second inning with singles by Cabin Vizio and Dalton Bashaw, but they went scoreless as they failed to capitalize. In the third inning, Beau Bisset was stranded with runners on first and second with no outs, and in the fourth inning, they were unable to capitalize on a runner in scoring position with two outs.
In addition to the two missed scoring chances, Toronto also had an “opportunity” when Scherzer, who had been pitching solidly, voluntarily left the game with a sudden illness. Toronto scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to start chasing Texas, only to see Texas score a run in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach. Schneider’s home run in the bottom of the ninth put Toronto back in the game, but it wasn’t enough to put the game out of reach, and they fell 3-6. It was Toronto’s second straight loss and Texas’ fourth straight win.메이저놀이터
Despite a quality start from Hyun-jin Ryu, the loss to Texas was the worst possible outcome for Toronto. After losing the previous day (Dec. 12) and falling to within 0.5 games of Texas in the wild-card race, the Jays now find themselves in a position where they need to catch Texas. And depending on the outcome of the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners matchup, they could slip to fourth place in the wild-card race, where the third-place finisher can punch a ticket to the postseason.