‘Reduce the curve and miss 7 times with a cutter’ Again, vintage RYU, this time the 2019 version… Praise for “there’s a reason it survived for so long”
- on Sep 07, 2023
It was different from the last four games where the curve was used as the main weapon. This time, he actively used the cutter that helped him finish second in the National League Cy Young Award and went 5 innings. This is why Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto Blue Jays), a ‘vintage type’, received support from local media in the U.S. and Canada and drew praise from opposing batters even though he was a losing pitcher.
Ryu Hyun-jin started the 2023 Major League (ML) away game against the Oakland Athletics held at the Coliseum Stadium in Oakland, California, USA on the 7th (Korean time), throwing 77 pitches in 5 innings, allowing 5 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, and 2 runs. recorded.
As soon as the team was down 1-2, reliever Trevor Richards gave up 3 runs in the 6th inning, causing Toronto to lose 2-5, and Ryu Hyun-jin also suffered his 2nd loss (3rd win) of the season. The season’s ERA rose from 2.48 to 2.65, and Toronto’s three-game winning streak was halted, with 77 wins and 63 losses, unable to widen the gap with the Texas Rangers in the American League wild card race.
Ryu Hyun-jin, who returned to the mound in August of this year, received a lot of attention by actively utilizing his curveball and winning three consecutive games as a starter. When he entered the Major League in 2013, he used a fastball and changeup, after returning from shoulder labrum surgery in 2016, he used a cutter, and after returning from elbow ligament joint surgery (Tommy John surgery) in June of last year, he used a curveball as his deciding pitch, and he asked why he was a ‘vintage type’. (Vintage Ryu)’.
Another example called vintage was created. The opposing team, Oakland, was a young team with only one player in the starting lineup over the age of 30, catcher Carlos Perez, and four players under the age of 25. Another characteristic is that the table setters and two most productive hitters, Brent Luker and Jack Gerloff, have a batting average of over .300 against fastballs, but their ability to deal with breaking balls and off-speed pitches is significantly poor. Against Oakland, the curveball percentage was reduced to 14% and the cutter + four-seam fastball ratio was increased to 57%, resulting in a different ball combination than usual.
Toronto Battery’s strategy of blocking heavy hitters was successful. Except for a double hit by Rooker in the 4th inning, he shut out the Oakland table setters with a total of 6 at-bats, 1 hit, and 3 strikeouts. This was thanks to the fact that Gerlof and Luker were completely focused on breaking balls, with only 7 fastballs being thrown out of 30. He struck out the looking guy with a cutter and a curve, and in the 5th inning, he threw a cutter to the looker with pinpoint control, resulting in a missed strikeout. However, he didn’t waste his fastball either. In the first inning, he showed his sharpness by striking out a looking striker with a fastball to the body that caught Luke off guard. On this day, 7 of the 10 missed swings that Ryu Hyun-jin caused to Oakland batters were cutters, which served as his main weapon, signaling the second coming of the 2019 version of Ryu Hyun-jin.
The only drawback was the come-from-behind two-run gun allowed to Perez in the 4th inning, and the 2nd and 3rd base hits to Esteuri Ruiz in the 5th inning. With 2 outs and 2nd base, he threw a fastball low to the body and across the strike zone to Perez, but it ended up being a two-run arch toward the left pole. However, this ball was only hit well by Perez and it was difficult to see it as a miss.안전놀이터
After the game, Toronto coach John Schneider defended the game, saying, “Ryu Hyun-jin showed off a perfect pitch early in the game. Even the home run hit by Perez was not a mishit throw,” and even Ryu Hyun-jin, the person who hit the home run, said, “Even (Perez’s) home run in the 4th inning, it was the course I wanted.” “It was in control. The controls and everything else were overall fine,” he said, satisfied.
Ryu Hyun-jin (far left) is disappointed after allowing a two-run home run to Carlos Perez in the bottom of the fourth inning against Oakland on the 7th (Korean time). /AFPBBNews=News1
Even the situation of giving up two stolen bases in a row is understandable for Ruiz, one of the best pitchers in the major league. Ruiz is a player with a sprint speed of 29.7 feet per second, which is in the top 3% of major league players. He ranks first in the American League in stolen bases and second overall in the major leagues with 58 stolen bases this season.
For that reason, rather than blaming Ryu Hyun-jin, local media in the U.S. and Canada also criticized the batting lineup, which allowed only 6 hits and 2 runs against Oakland, the weakest team. Canadian media outlet Toronto Sun said, “Toronto lost 2-5 to the worst team this season. Ryu Hyun-jin lasted 5 innings in his 8th appearance on the mound. Today he was not as sharp as before, but he had a chance to throw longer. Rather, “I received little scoring support from my teammates,” he said, regretting the low score.
MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, also criticized, “Toronto won in Ryu Hyun-jin’s previous five starts, but on this day, (the power of the batting line) was not enough to make up for the two points lost to Perez.”
It was Kevin Smith who drove the key in the game that day. Smith’s previous at-bat was limited to a ground ball to shortstop and an infield hit, but after Ryu Hyun-jin went down, he hit a three-run to left-center to Richards, giving Oakland the win. In an interview with the Associated Press, Smith said, “There is a reason Ryu Hyun-jin has survived (in the major leagues) for such a long time. His changeup does not overwhelm his opponent, but he has the ability to throw it where he wants. If this works well, it will be difficult for the opponent.” “It’s like starting a new day,” he praised.