“A living legend.”
That’s what the Toronto Blue Jays wrote about Ryu Hyun-jin on their official social media accounts on Feb. 2 (KST).
Ryu Hyun-jin started the 2023 Major League Baseball game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, USA, on the 2nd.메이저놀이터
Ryu faced a Colorado lineup consisting of Charlie Blackmon (right fielder), Ezequiel Toba (shortstop), Elias Díaz (catcher), Ryan McMahon (third baseman), Brandon Rogers (second baseman), Hunter Goodman (designated hitter), Nolan Jones (left fielder), Eloyce Montero (first baseman), and Brenton Doyle (center fielder). At Coors Field, a “pitcher’s graveyard” located at an elevation of 1,600 meters, Ryu gave up two runs on four hits (one home run) with two walks and three strikeouts in five innings to lead his team to a 13-9 victory.
Early in the game, Ryu was completely dominant. In the first two innings, he struck out three straight batters on 23 pitches.
In the third inning, he faltered a bit and gave up the first run. After a leadoff walk to Jones, a changeup to Montero was driven up the middle for a two-run homer over the left field fence for a 2-0 lead.
Ryu took advantage of a questionable ball call by the umpire. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the fourth, a six-pitch four-seam fastball from Jones crossed the strike zone, but was ruled a balk, putting runners on first and second. Ryu got Montero, who had homered in the previous inning, to pop out to second base, shortstop, and first base to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, he closed out the game with a triple play. Ryu, who came off the mound with his team leading 4-2, was eligible for the win, but the bullpen struggled in the next inning.
Despite not winning his fourth straight game, Ryu’s performance was nothing short of remarkable. Prior to this game, Ryu had made six starts at Coors Field, going 1-4 with a 7.09 ERA in 26⅔ innings. He had allowed eight home runs and a .667 OPS. Not exactly a place with fond memories.
Even in this situation, Ryu didn’t disappoint. He allowed only two long balls, including a home run. The graveyard of pitchers with long balls was just an ordinary ballpark in front of him.
After the game, Toronto posted a photo of Ryu and a video of him pitching on its social media, calling him a “living legend” and writing, “His ERA is 2.48 since his return.”
“Ryu gave up two runs in five innings at Coors Field,” wrote local Canadian media outlet Sportsnet. “He could have pitched more, but the team chose to use the bullpen, which had been rested the day before,” and “Ryu gave up a run as soon as he went down,” lamenting the change in atmosphere and pitching.
Ryu extended the team’s winning streak to six games and won five of his last six starts, establishing himself as Toronto’s new go-to guy. In six games, including this one, he is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 29 innings pitched, 23 strikeouts, and a 1.03 WHIP, making him an integral part of the team’s starting rotation.
Toronto’s record this season is 74-61. They are 1.5 games out of the third wild-card spot (Texas Rangers, 75-59), which is the minimum for a postseason berth.