The Major League Baseball (MLB) Toronto Blue Jays confirmed their advancement to the postseason for the second year in a row. However, Ryu Hyun-jin (36) was on the verge of ending the season before even reaching the threshold of fall baseball.
Canadian media outlet Sportsnet analyzed on the 3rd (Korean time), “Toronto is expected to enter the postseason with 12 of its 14 pitchers at the end of the season, excluding Ryu Hyun-jin and Wes Parsons.”
Toronto lost 5-7 in its home game against the Tampa Bay Rays on the 1st, but on the same day, its wild card competitor, the Seattle Mariners, also lost, confirming its advancement to the wild card. Depending on the results of the next day’s game, Toronto will enter the American League Wild Card Series (best of 3 games) against the Minnesota Twins at 5:38 a.m. on the 4th.
As a result, Toronto advanced to the postseason for the second year in a row. Toronto advanced to the wild card series with 92 wins in the 2022 season, but fell to Seattle with two losses and failed to advance to the division series. Toronto succeeded in avenging last season and got to experience fall baseball once again.
What Korean fans are most interested in is whether Ryu Hyun-jin will appear in the playoffs. He was unable to appear in the postseason after undergoing elbow ligament fusion surgery (Tommy John surgery) in June of last year, but returned to the major league mound in August of this year. He appeared in 11 games this season and announced his healthy return by recording 3 wins, 3 losses, and an ERA of 3.46. Although his fastball average velocity (88.6 mph) is down compared to before his surgery in 2021 (89.9 mph), he pitched skillfully and took on the role of a starting pitcher.
However, his final pitch was not very good. Of his first eight appearances this year, Ryu Hyun-jin has gone more than five innings in all of them, except for the game against Cleveland on August 8 (4 scoreless innings), where he was kicked early after being hit in the leg by a batted ball. His earned run average during this period was also respectable at 2.93. However, he pitched only 4⅔ innings, 4⅓ innings, and 3 innings in the final three games, respectively. In the game against Tampa Bay on the 1st, which was the final inspection stage before the postseason, he finished pitching with 7 hits and 2 runs in 3 innings.
Accordingly, some expressed skepticism about Ryu Hyun-jin joining the postseason. MLB.com, the official Major League Baseball website, selected Toronto’s expected entries for the Wild Card Series on the 3rd and excluded Ryu Hyun-jin’s name from the 12 pitchers. With Kevin Gausman appearing as the starter in the first game, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassett, and Yusei Kikuchi came out in that order, leaving Ryu Hyun-jin out. Sportsnet also predicted that Ryu Hyun-jin and Parsons, among the current 14 pitchers, will be eliminated. Parsons, who played for NC Dinos until last year and became known to domestic fans, appeared as a starter in the game on the 2nd, but collapsed with 10 hits and 9 runs in 4 innings.
Of course, there are also predictions that are not left out of the equation. MLB.com’s Toronto reporter Keegan Matterson said, “I don’t know what role Ryu Hyun-jin will play, but considering Trevor Richards, who has recently performed poorly (17 earned runs in 12⅓ innings in September), and Jay Jackson, who was DFAed (assigned as a transfer), he is considered a relief pitcher. “It may open a new path,” he analyzed. However, considering that he only made one relief appearance out of 186 games in the big league, it is not realistically easy.스포츠토토
If Toronto advances to the Division Series or higher, Ryu Hyun-jin may also be given a role. However, if the season ends with a loss to Minnesota, Ryu Hyun-jin is expected to end his stay with Toronto. He signed a four-year, $80 million contract with Toronto ahead of the 2020 season, and recorded 24 wins, 15 losses, and an ERA of 3.97 over four seasons in Toronto. In the 60-game shortened season in 2020, he finished third in the American League Cy Young Award with 5 wins, 2 losses, and an ERA of 2.69.
However, he does not have good memories of the post season. He appeared as a starter in Game 2 of the wild card series against Tampa Bay in 2020, and collapsed with 8 hits (2 home runs), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, and 7 runs (3 earned runs) in 1⅔ innings, including a grand slam by Hunter Renfro in the second inning. And this will likely be Ryu Hyun-jin’s only fall baseball appearance in Toronto.