Four runs in five innings in his first start in 426 days a loss, but a hopeful start

Hyun-jin Ryu returns to the mound in Baltimore loss
A new start for hopes against the AL’s best
“I’m happy with five-plus innings I’ll raise my velocity”
Toronto manager: “We’ll get our power back”

After recovering from an injury, Toronto’s Ryu Hyun-jin (R) throws a ball during the first inning of an MLB baseball game against Baltimore at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on May 2. Ryu, who underwent left elbow ligament splicing surgery in June last year, was back on the big league mound 426 days after successfully completing four minor league rehabilitation appearances.

He gave up a hit in every inning, most of them right down the center of the bat. The result: four runs on nine hits, including one home run, in five innings. It was a far cry from the “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin (36-Toronto) that many remember.

However, it’s hard to call it a failure considering he was back on the big league mound 426 days after undergoing left elbow surgery. Moreover, the opponent was Baltimore, which is leading the American League with a six-percent winning percentage (66-41, .617 OPS through two days).

Ryu Hyun-jin showed both ‘hope’ and ‘homework’ in his return to the Major League Baseball (MLB) on the 2nd at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The most encouraging aspect was that he lasted five innings despite being hit hard. Ryu was hit by a leadoff double to right-center field by Adley Rutchman in the first inning. Ryan Mountcastle doubled to left-center and Anthony Santander singled to left-center in the second. He gave up another run in the second on a single to Lurchman. He struggled with his fastball, which was sitting in the low 90s, and his changeup up the middle.

But Ryu turned things around in the third inning when he brought out his other weapon, his curveball. He still gave up a hit in each inning, but he mixed in his off-speed curveball to dazzle hitters. In the third through fifth innings, he kept the game scoreless with his trademark crisis management skills. With the bases loaded in the third inning, he got Austin Hayes to ground out to the second baseman before striking out Gunner Henderson on an outside four-seam fastball. It was the fastest pitch of the day, clocking in at 146 mph. In the fifth inning, after a single and a walk put runners on first and second, he got Hayes to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.

The only disappointment came in the top of the sixth inning, when the score was tied 3-3. Ryu took the mound again in the sixth, and his five-pitch changeup (123 kilometers per hour) to leadoff hitter Henderson was hit right down the middle for a one-run home run. After the home run, Ryu left the mound. Toronto relievers gave up nine runs in the seventh through ninth innings alone, and Toronto ultimately lost 3-13.

After the game, Ryu said, “I was nervous, but it was fun. I’m just happy that I showed that I can pitch more than five innings in a start.” “I had a lot of mistakes with my changeup, which is my most confident pitch, but overall it was fine. I think my velocity is going to go up another mile or two.”

For his changeup to be effective, he needs his fastball velocity to increase. On this day, his fastball averaged 89 miles per hour (about 143 kilometers per hour). When Ryu was at his best, his fastball averaged in the low 90s. Ryu’s next start will be on Aug. 8 against Cleveland. “I’m sure he’s going to get better and better with every start,” Toronto manager John Schneider said.

Meanwhile, former Pittsburgh pitcher Ji-Man Choi, 32, was traded to San Diego for Kim Ha-seong, 28, at the trade deadline. Choi, who made his debut with the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, will be wearing the uniform of his sixth big league team, joining the New York Yankees, Milwaukee, 스포츠토토 Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh.

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