Ryu Hyun-jin started the game against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on Monday (June 18) and ended up helping the team to a 3-2 victory. Although he didn’t have a win requirement, he was able to hold off the Boston offense early in the game to preserve his team’s lead.
Ryu’s performance wasn’t overwhelming – he gave up six hits in 4⅔ innings, two long balls, and two walks – but he was able to get through it with some stellar pitches that drew rave reviews from the local media. In particular, he didn’t allow a single run in the second and third innings.
Ryu’s own abilities shone through first and foremost. He threw a variety of pitches on a precise course, inducing many missed bats. He did hit some outfield balls with runners on base, but most of them were high balls that had little chance of being hit. They also didn’t travel very far.
With the help of his defense and Garcia, who saved the day in the fifth inning, he was able to keep the game scoreless. Despite the struggles, his season ERA dropped to 2.62 from 2.93.
Toronto didn’t surrender an early lead thanks to Ryu’s ability to stay out of trouble, and with the game tied at 2-2, the Jays won 3-2 on Chapman’s RBI single. Toronto’s postseason chances had taken a dive after losing all four games at home to Texas, but a three-game sweep of Boston revitalized their chances. Coincidentally, while Toronto’s winning streak was going on, Texas and Seattle, both wild-card contenders, lost back-to-back games, shuffling the standings again.
Ryu may not have gotten the win, but he had a big job on his hands. However, veteran commentator Buck Martinez of Sportsnet, the Canadian sports network and Toronto’s host broadcaster, shared a funny story from the game. It was a special batting practice by the visiting Boston team. Martinez noticed that the Boston players were taking batting practice with special equipment that you don’t normally see.
Martinez saw a pitching machine that allowed him to throw a slow curveball. Normally, pitching machines only allow you to adjust the speed of a fastball, but nowadays, pitching machines that can throw a changeup-like pitch are being developed to help players improve their hitting. Martinez testified that “since yesterday, I’ve been practicing with a machine that throws a slow curveball,” he said.
Boston’s target was clear. The Toronto starters on the 17th and 18th were right-hander Chris Bassitt and left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu. Both throw curveballs, slow curveballs. Bassitt has thrown a curveball in 12.4% of his pitches this year. His average velocity is 70.6 miles per hour (113.6 km/h
), which is on the slower side. Ryu throws one more pitch. This year, he has a 17.6% curveball rate and an average fastball velocity of 68.7 mph (110.6 km/h). No one in the league throws a slower curveball than Ryu.
In other words, they even brought in a slow curveball pitching machine to prepare for both players’ curveballs. Martinez’s analysis was that it worked.
Before this game, Ryu’s curveball batting average was just .219, and after the second inning, it dropped to .100. With his changeup and cutter not quite back to full strength after elbow surgery, the cascading curveball was a lifeline for Ryu, and Boston hitters took advantage of it today. In the second inning, with one out, Duvall hit a very well-timed curveball for a double down the left-field line.
In the third inning, Maguire also turned a curveball into a hard hit. Martinez said of Duvall, “He took a curveball and dropped it down the left field line,” and of Maguire, “He hit it in a very good (bat) spot.” Martinez said, “McGwire got another hard hit off a curveball. Duvall hit a curveball, so did McGwire, and Story (hit a curveball) for a hard hit.”
But Ryu didn’t stand still. He skillfully avoided it by throwing his changeup a little more often. Ryu’s breakdown of pitches on the day was 45% fastball, 23% changeup, and 16% curveball, with a slightly lower percentage of curveballs than average. His curveball velocity ranged from 62.3 mph (100.3 km/h) to 71.5 mph (115.1 km/h), with an average of 68.5 mph (110.2 km/h). I had a 33% swing rate and a 69% zone rate. The zone was higher than usual, but the Boston hitters had their own game plan 소닉카지노.
The “curveball battle” between Ryu and Boston ended with a slight advantage for Ryu, or a draw. This episode is proof enough that other teams are now wary of Ryu’s curveball. Ryu’s curveball has been on fire this year. While his four-seam fastball hasn’t recovered, he’s thriving with a mix of a 70-mph changeup and a curveball that has dropped to the low 60s. Just when you thought he was getting older, he’s evolving.