The Korean Monster, Ryu Hyun-jin, had to leave the mound in a losing effort despite pitching his best game of the season.

Ryu Hyun-jin started the 2023 Major League Baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday (July 13), throwing 82 pitches in six innings, allowing five hits (one home run), one walk, four strikeouts, and three runs (two earned).

For Toronto, this four-game series with Texas is very important. Both teams are currently in a tight race for the American League Wild Card, which would put them on the “last train” to the postseason. However, a shocking loss the previous day (Dec. 12), in which “$63 million man” Chris Bassitt and the bullpen were both swept, kept Toronto in the second wild-card spot, but closed the gap to Texas by half a game.

The previous day’s loss put some pressure on Hyun-jin Ryu to take the mound today. Especially with Texas leading the American League in team batting average and team OPS, and facing three-time Cy Young Award winner and living legend Max Scherzer. But that didn’t stop Ryu, who had been pitching solidly in his last five games with five innings of two-run ball.

From the get-go, Ryu’s pitches were on point. In the top of the first inning, Ryu threw Marcus Semien a sinker just outside the strike zone to induce a foul fly to first base for the first out of the inning. He then fought a six-pitch battle with his former Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Corey Seager, throwing a 90.3 mph fastball to the second baseman for a grounder.

With a strong Texas lineup, Ryu had to be very cautious, and with two outs and nobody on base, he drew a full-count walk to Robbie Grossman to load the bases. But he got the next batter, Mitch Garber, to fly out to center field to end the inning without allowing a run.

The clean pitching continued. In the second inning, Ryu fired a cutter high and away from the body to Jonah Heim, who lined it toward the third baseman. Cavan Biggio made a spectacular leaping catch to put the pressure on Ryu’s shoulders, and Ryu struck out Nate Lowe on a fly ball to left field and Ezequiel Duran on a curveball to center field for the first “triple play” of the inning.

While the bats came around, Ryu was “perfect. Ryu started the inning by getting leadoff hitter Leodie Taveras to pop out to first base on a four-pitch, body-high fastball. He then got the next batter, Jonathan Oneras, to ground into a 2B-2S double play on a five-pitch 89.9 mph fastball to the body for his first strikeout of the night. He then worked Semien for back-to-back strikes with a first-pitch curveball and a second-pitch changeup to take advantage of a favorable count, and a third-pitch outside cutter for a grounder to shortstop 토토사이트.

The second game was no easier for the Texas offense. Ryu gave up his first hit in the fourth inning when he was hit by a cutter to Seager, and then threw a cutter to Grossman on the first pitch of the at-bat. It was a miscue that was driven toward the middle of the strike zone rather than away from the body, and Grossman didn’t miss it. The ball traveled 375 feet (114.3 meters) before sailing over the left-field fence at 99.8 mph (160.6 km/h).

Ryu, who had allowed a home run in three straight games, starting against the Cleveland Indians on May 27 and continuing through games against the Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics, hadn’t allowed a home run in four straight games. Still, no runs were scored. After getting Garber to ground out to shortstop, Ryu gave up a single to Haim, but he struck out Lowe on a 62.6 mph curveball and got Duran to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.

The fourth inning was all the more disappointing because the fifth was perfect. Ryu struck out Taveras again in 1B-2S with a 90.6 mph (145.8 km/h) fastball, the fastest of the day, to his body, and then got Oneras to fly out to shortstop and Semien to fly out to right field for the third strikeout of the inning.

At the end of the fifth inning, Ryu had only thrown 62 pitches, so the Toronto bench decided to give him the sixth inning. Despite giving up the extra run, Ryu pitched a quality start (6 innings, 3 earned runs or less). Ryu got off to a bad start by giving up a leadoff double to Seager in right field. Ryu then seemed to breathe a sigh of relief when he struck out Grossman for the second out of the inning, but then gave up a single to Garber to put runners on first and third.

Here’s where Ryu really came into his own. Ryu induced a fly ball to right field to Heim, giving him the best option to trade one out for one run. Then, with two on and one out, he drove an 89-mph fastball high in the strike zone to Lowe for his fifth strikeout to end the inning. Ryu, who pitched his best game since returning from injury, had already given up the mound to Garcia in the seventh.

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