The game between Toronto and Cincinnati, which was held on the 21st (Korean time) at the Great American Ball Park in Ohio, left one implication for both sides. Toronto confirmed the health of Ryu Hyun-jin (36). On the contrary, Cincinnati confirmed that there is still a long way to go in the number of fights with young players who have grown as main players.
Cincinnati’s batting line, which continued to rebuild, has a different face from the beginning of last year. Over the past time, the top prospects that the team has worked hard to develop have debuted in the major leagues one after another, injecting energy into the team. Among them, there are many players who can hit a long hit and have the mobility to run from 1st base to 3rd base with a short hit. It was a stroke of defeat. However, Ryu Hyun-jin put it to rest.
Although there were 2 runs in the 2nd inning, it was an unearned run due to a defensive error, and Ryu Hyun-jin threw 83 balls in 5 innings, 4 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts and 2 runs (no ERA), leading the team to a 10-3 victory. It was the second win of the season. The season’s ERA, which started at 7.20, fell to 1.89 in three consecutive games and 14 consecutive innings without an ERA.
Even with a ball that reached 89.6 miles (144.2 km) that day, Ryu Hyun-jin continued his stable pitching as if teaching young hitters in Cincinnati. It’s as if he’s experimenting with how much faster he can feel when he mixes a slow fastball with a 60-mph curveball and a 70-mph changeup. The Cincinnati batters, who were still inexperienced, were thoroughly beaten in this ‘rock-paper-scissors fight’.
It is easy to think of only a changeup when thinking of Ryu Hyun-jin, but the type of pitch that is more powerful after returning from elbow surgery rehabilitation is a slow curveball with a large drop. On this day, Ryu Hyun-jin recorded an average of 68.8 miles (110.7 km) and a minimum of 65.5 miles (105.4 km) of curves in the right place (19% use rate), recording a high miss rate of 43%. He threw a 60-mph curveball, and when his high-80-mph fastball came back, his opposing hitters couldn’t help but feel the velocity more palpable.
Shortstop Ellie de la Cruz (21), a promising prospect that Cincinnati is proud of and one of the leading prospects in the major leagues, also struck out two in three at-bats against Ryu Hyun-jin. And both strikeouts were hit by a curveball. He struck out swinging in the third inning and looking for opportunities on first and second base in the fifth. Local media described this scene as a ‘typical way for a veteran to deal with a rookie player’.
Ryu Hyun-jin, who met De La Cruz in the third inning, got an advantageous count with location pitching that crossed the outside and inside. The fastball, changeup, fastball, and changeup began to shake De La Cruz’s batting timing in that order. Then, he dropped a 66.2-mile (106.5 km) curve deep into his body on the 6th pitch, inducing a strikeout with a swing.
Even in the fifth inning, he struck out on three pitches. He threw a changeup outside the first pitch, but De La Cruz watched as he recognized that it would be difficult to hit it well in his second at-bat. Then Ryu Hyun-jin threw a four-seam fastball on the second pitch and caught 2S, and while confused, La Cruz dropped the third pitch curve into the zone and struck out looking. This curve is 66.8 miles (107.5 km). There was a difference of 21.4 miles (34.4 km) from the second pitch four-seam.
This scene was also a hot topic in De la Cruz’s home country, the Dominican Republic. Dominican baseball media ‘Swing Completo’ even attached a subtitle called ‘unbelievable’ to this scene. ‘Swing Completo’ highlighted the three matches between Ryu Hyun-jin and De La Cruz that day, saying, ‘Toronto struck out De La Cruz at 67 miles per hour.’
‘Swing Completo’ is ‘De la Cruz, a rookie from the Dominican Republic, is making a big splash in the major leagues after receiving a call from Cincinnati to make his major league debut. The 21-year-old De La Cruz is one of the most joyous players in the way baseball is played,’ but ‘Korean Hyun-jin Ryu showed off a perfect curve to swallow De La Cruz in the 5th inning. Interestingly, the redemption was only 67 mph. Nevertheless, it made this Dominican cool while standing,’ he explained the situation.
‘Swing Completo’ said, ‘In the major leagues, the average speed may vary from pitcher to pitcher, but it generally crosses 90 miles per hour, and now you can see pitchers over 100 miles per hour.’ did not record a hit in De la Cruz plays a key role in Cincinnati’s fight to make the playoffs and you can’t help but marvel at his great talent, but this time (Hyeon-Jin Ryu) surprised him.’스포츠토토
Local broadcasters and media also acknowledged that Ryu Hyun-jin’s pitching pattern effectively attacked Cincinnati hitters. Buck Martinez, a veteran commentator for SportsNet, a Toronto broadcaster, praised it as a “beautiful combination,” saying, “It’s very difficult to separate a 66-mph curveball from a pitcher who can throw so many pitches and an 88-mph fastball.” The ‘Cincinnati Inquirer’ also neatly acknowledged his rout, saying, “Ryu Hyun-jin threw a curve under 70 mph that smeared the bats of Cincinnati hitters with dirt.” It was Ryu Hyun-jin’s day.