After undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery) in June last year, Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto) has successfully completed more than a year of long-term rehabilitation to save his career. His performance since his return says it all. He’s proved that he can still be a competitive pitcher in the major leagues.
His other metrics are excellent, but the most intuitive is his ERA. In his first five starts since returning, Ryu has gone 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings pitched. “It doesn’t feel like my arm for a couple of years,” he said after his elbow surgery. It doesn’t feel the same, and some athletes never fully find the same sensations and adapt to the new ones. It definitely takes time.
Nevertheless, Ryu has been cruising through both the tension and the stress. I thought the first three to five games would be a rough patch, where everything would still be awkward, but he couldn’t have done better. His innings pitched are a little off, but he’s still got two or three games left in him where he can go another inning. I was disappointed in the sudden injuries and errors. The Toronto bench tended to take it easy.
Outside of his first game back, against Baltimore on the 2nd (5 innings, 4 runs), he’s actually been near perfect. From Aug. 8 against Cleveland to Aug. 21 against Cincinnati, he went 14 innings in three games without allowing a single earned run. He allowed less than one hit per inning. This raised hopes locally that Ryu could challenge the franchise record. This is the streak of consecutive games without allowing an earned run.
Ryu’s streak of three consecutive games without giving up an earned run is something that hasn’t happened before in his illustrious career. This was the second time in his career. The first came in 2019, the greatest season of his career. As a member of the Dodgers, Ryu pitched three consecutive perfect games, starting with a nine-inning shutout against Atlanta on May 8, 2019, followed by an eight-inning no-hitter against Washington on May 13, 2019, and a seven-inning no-hitter against Cincinnati on May 20, 2019.
Toronto’s franchise record (excluding opener appearances) came in 1997. Pat Hentgen, the team’s ace at the time, had a four-game scoreless streak from May 5-21, 1997. Hentgen went 15-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 264 innings pitched in 35 games in 1997 and was named an All-Star. Hentgen is a household name, having won 107 games in 10 seasons in a Toronto uniform, including 20 in 1996.
However, Ryu’s bid for the franchise record came to an unfortunate end in the first inning. With the bases loaded, he gave up a two-seam fastball to Jose Ramirez for a solo home run to left center. It was a no-doubt pitch, and there was no way Ramirez, who had already hit a home run against Ryu, was going to miss it. The moment he was hit, Ryu seemed to realize it was a home run and “coolly” accepted his mistake. It was his first run in 15 innings.
But he pitched very well on this day. Despite giving up two solo home runs, the fifth inning home run to Freeman was a curveball, and you have to give Freeman credit for that. Two back-to-back infield errors in the sixth inning were disappointing, even though the pitch count and content of the pitches were good enough for a “six innings, two runs” performance. The local broadcasters continued to praise Ryu’s pitching.
Dan Shulman, a broadcaster for Sportsnet, the Canadian sports network and host broadcaster in Toronto, said after Ryu gave up a home run to Ramirez in the first inning on Sunday in Cleveland, “It’s going to be in the papers. Ryu Hyun-jin, who hadn’t given up (an earned run) in the last three games, gave up an earned run. Cleveland is not the type of team to hit home runs, but they’ve been hitting home runs in the last game,” he quipped. It was the first earned run in four games and the first in 25 days, dating back to April 2 against Baltimore.먹튀검증
As for Ramirez’s home run, which was a bit of a weakness against lefties in a right-handed lineup, “All the numbers were meaningless (in the current split). Ryu’s pitch was in the zone, and Ramirez hit a tomahawk. It went nearly 400 feet.” “It wasn’t an efficient pitch considering Ryu’s career. He’s a guy who can put the ball in the zone more. I didn’t get it in the zone. I could feel it was a home run the moment I hit it,” he said, adding that he was surprised by Ryu’s mistake. That’s not the kind of pitcher he is.
Regardless, Ryu successfully closed out the game, earning the win and his third win of the season. Commentator Buck Martinez said, “The changeup was great. Curve, changeup, four-seam all in the same delivery. It’s very natural and very controlled.” “He’s our fifth starter, and he’s been very consistent for a fifth starter. He can throw all of his pitches for strikes and he has a lot of different pitches.”