Before he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his elbow ligaments last June, it was doubtful that Hyun-jin Ryu, 36, of Toronto, would be throwing on the mound in September 2023. In hindsight, it’s unnecessary, but at the time, it was for good reason.
Tommy John surgery typically takes a year to a year and a half to rehabilitate. He wouldn’t return until June or July 2023 at the earliest. In addition, Ryu was in his mid-30s and was coming off a second surgery. It was natural to expect a full rehabilitation period rather than a quick return. Assuming a rehabilitation period of nearly a year and a half, it was unclear if he would be able to return to full strength by the end of the 2023 season. The pessimistic narrative of “Ryu’s career in Toronto is over” is not without merit.
But through hard work and rehabilitation, Ryu moved the clock forward and stuck to the rehabilitation timeline he set for himself. As predicted, he was close to returning in late July and made an emotional comeback against Baltimore on August 2. From there, he went on to make nine appearances, pitching 44⅔ innings against Boston on Sept. 19, posting a 3-3 record with a 2.62 ERA. It’s even more impressive considering he’s still recovering from elbow surgery.
It’s not just a fluke. All the metrics prove it. His batting average is just .229. That’s even lower than Ryu’s career average (.249). His walks per inning allowed (WHIP) is also stable at 1.12. His lack of control is offset by a wide variety of pitches and impeccable command. He has a 90-mph fastball, a mid-80s cutter, a 70-mph changeup, and a low-60s curveball that drops down in velocity to keep hitters off balance. It’s impossible to target any one pitch.
Ryu’s average fastball velocity is 88.4 miles per hour, which is in the bottom 2% of the league, but his average batted ball velocity is an outstanding 87 miles per hour. That’s the same average batted ball velocity he had in 2020, when he finished third in the American League Cy Young Award voting. This means that Ryu’s pitches are stable. He can pitch even better if he reduces the number of home runs he gives up, which he may have to do because of his slow velocity. Again, this is all coming from a pitcher who just finished rehabbing from elbow surgery.
Ryu’s seasoned stuff was on full display against Boston on April 18 at home in the Rogers Centre. Ryu threw 83 pitches over 4⅔ innings, allowing six hits and two walks. It wasn’t a perfect day for the offense. He had runners on second and third base twice. But I didn’t give up any runs. He left quite a few runners on base, and his season ERA dropped further to 2.62 from 2.93. This is thanks to his excellent crisis management skills.
Ryu’s veteran pitching, coupled with the play of his defense, allowed Toronto to hold onto an early one-run lead. His composure with runners in scoring position was impressive. Ryu gave up an infield single to the leadoff Devils in the second inning with the score tied at 0-0. He then gave up a double down the left field line to Duvall, who has two career home runs against him, putting runners on second and third with no outs. With one out, it wasn’t a bad situation for the pitcher.
But on Reyes’ grounder, shortstop Bissett made a daring throw home to pick off Devers at third. It was a bold throw to home plate to avoid the runner on second and make the catch. With the help of his defense, Ryu got Story to fly out to center field and Dalbec to fly out to right field to end the second inning with no outs. The nightmare began for Boston in the third inning,
In the third inning, he gave up a leadoff single to McGwire and then a double to Rafaela, who again lined out to left field. Third baseman Chapman got a glove on it, but it bounced away. Again, runners on second and third. But Ryu didn’t falter. He got Lefsnider to fly out to left and his old teammate Turner to ground out to third. He walked Devers to load the bases, but got Duvall to fly out to right field to end the threat.
In the fourth inning, Chapman made an unfortunate error when he dropped Story’s bunt one out later. Dalbec followed with a single to put runners on first and second. But Story got Maguire to fly out to shortstop to put out the fire. The second baseman made a great throw to first base to avoid Dalbec’s slide.
Local media praised Ryu’s ability to get out of the early jams, with TSN saying, “Ryu showed off his masterful crisis management skills. Veteran commentator Buck Martinez of Sportsnet, the Canadian sports network and Toronto’s host broadcaster, said, “Look at what Ryu did. It’s beautiful. The veteran pitcher got out of a tough jam.” Toronto went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position against Ryu on the day.
Although he was pulled with one out to win the game, Garcia stranded the tying run in scoring position in the fifth inning. His ERA dropped even further, and he moved into first place in the standings. Over the last 42 days, only one other American League pitcher has a better ERA than Ryu.
Since August 8, Ryu has appeared in eight games and pitched 39⅔ innings. During this time, he went 3-2 with a 2.04 ERA. Only four other major league pitchers have a better ERA in that span. Kim’s teammates and fellow National League Cy Young Award contenders Blake Snell (San Diego, 1.88), Freddy Perala (Milwaukee, 1.94), Brandon Woodruff (Milwaukee, 1.97), and Sonny Gray (Minnesota, 1.99). Only Gray is an American League pitcher.
Senga Kodai (New York Mets), who has been on a tear in the second half of the season, also has a 2.22 ERA in seven starts during this time, but he ranks seventh overall, below Ryu. In Ryu’s case, he’s also been able to take advantage of the fact that he’s been able to stay healthy. There are 21 major leaguers with a sub-3.00 ERA during this period.
Now we’ll see if he can maintain that ERA, have a good season, and lead Toronto to the postseason. Hyun-jin Ryu is nearing the end of his regular season. His next start in the rotation will be against Tampa Bay on April 24, starting at 5:10 AM. The Rays are the favorites to clinch the top wild card spot in the American League. Ryu owes the Rays a favor from the 2020 postseason.토토사이트
His next start, and final start of the season, will be the first game of the final home series against Tampa Bay on April 30, starting at 8:07 AM. Barring a rotation adjustment, Ryu will face Tampa Bay in both of his final two starts of the regular season.
After sweeping the mountain that is Boston, Toronto only has games left against the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay. The Jays will travel to each of these teams for a six-game series before returning home for a six-game series. According to FanGraphs, Toronto has a 78.9 percent chance of making the postseason, ahead of Texas (71.2 percent) and Seattle (52.6 percent). If Ryu wants to pitch one more game in a Toronto uniform, the team will have to go to fall ball.