Boston even gave ‘special training’ with this to break Ryu Hyun-jin… Was this really that scary?
Ryu Hyun-jin started the game against Boston held at Rogers Center, his home stadium, on the 18th (Korean time) and contributed to the team’s 3-2 victory. Although he did not qualify as a winning pitcher, he was able to protect the team’s lead by holding off Boston’s onslaught early in the game without conceding a run.
메이저놀이터Ryu Hyun-jin’s pitching that day was not overwhelming. In 4⅔ innings, he allowed six hits, including two extra-base hits. He also allowed two walks. However, he persevered thanks to his excellent crisis management skills, which were highly praised by the local media. In particular, it was a highlight that he did not give up a single run during the second and third base crisis in the second and third innings.
Ryu Hyun-jin’s own abilities shined first. He threw a variety of pitches on a sophisticated course and caused many missed balls. He had quite a few outfield fly balls when there were runners on base, but most of them were high fly balls that greatly reduced the probability of hitting. He didn’t have a long distance either.
He pitched a scoreless game with help from his defenders and even Garcia, who came to his rescue in the fifth inning. Despite his struggles, his season earned run average dropped from 2.93 to 2.62.
Toronto did not give up the lead in the early stages thanks to Ryu Hyun-jin holding on without giving up a run even in a crisis, and with the game tied at 2-2, they won 3-2 thanks to Chapman’s walk-off hit. Toronto’s chances of advancing to the postseason plummeted after losing all four home games against Texas, but they revived their chances by sweeping three games against Boston. Coincidentally, while Toronto was on a winning streak, Texas and Seattle, which were competitors in the wild card race, suffered consecutive losses and the rankings were overturned again.
Although Ryu Hyun-jin did not achieve victory, he performed his big mission well. However, Buck Martinez, a veteran commentator for ‘Sportsnet’, a Canadian sports network and broadcaster in Toronto, introduced an interesting story from one of the games that day. It was a special batting practice for the away team, Boston. Martinez noticed that the Boston team was practicing hitting using special equipment that is not commonly seen.
The equipment Martinez saw was a pitching machine that pitched a slow curve. Usually, pitching machines can only control the speed of fast balls. However, these days, pitching machines that can throw similar to breaking balls are being developed and are helping players with their hitting training. Martinez testified, “Since yesterday, Boston has been practicing with a machine that throws slow curves.”
What Boston was aiming for was clear. Toronto’s selections on the 17th and 18th were right-hander Chris Bassett and left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin. However, both players throw curves, and slow curves at that. Bassett has a curve of 12.4% of all pitches used this year. His average speed is 70.6 miles per hour (113.6 km
), which is slow. Ryu Hyun-jin drinks another drink. This year’s curve usage rate is 17.6%, and the average speed is 68.7 miles (110.6 km). There is no player in the league who throws a slower curveball than Ryu Hyun-jin.
In other words, they trained with a slow curve pitching machine to prepare for the curves of the two players. So, was it effective? Martinez’s analysis was that it had its merits.
Before today’s game, Ryu Hyun-jin’s curve hitting percentage was only 0.219, and especially after 2S, his curve hitting percentage dropped to 0.100. The waterfall-like curveball was a lifeline for Ryu Hyun-jin, who had not clearly regained his sense of changeup and cutter after elbow surgery. However, Boston hitters did a pretty good job of this that day. With no outs and no outs on first base in the second inning, Duvall pulled the curve at exactly the right time and hit a double that landed next to the left fielder.
In the third inning, Maguire also made a curveball hard hit. Martinez said of Duval, “I caught the curveball and hit it inside the left field line,” and of McGuire, he said, “I hit it in a very good (bat) spot.” Martinez evaluated, “McGuire made another hard hit against the curve. Duval also hit the curve, McGuire did the same, and Story also made a strong hit (by hitting the curve).”
But Ryu Hyun-jin also did not stay still. He skillfully avoided this by using a slightly higher percentage of changeups. Ryu Hyun-jin’s percentage of pitches used on this day was 45% four-seam, 23% change-up, and 16% curve, which was slightly lower than average. Curve speed ranged from 62.3 miles (100.3 km) to 71.5 miles (115.1 km), with an average of 68.5 miles (110.2 km). The missed swing rate was 33%, and the rate of entering the zone was 69%. I entered the zone more than usual, and Boston hitters also came with their own strategies.
The ‘curve battle’ between Ryu Hyun-jin and Boston ended in a draw, with Ryu Hyun-jin having a slight edge. Episodes like this are enough proof that other teams are now starting to be wary of Ryu Hyun-jin’s curves. That’s how much Ryu Hyun-jin’s curve is on the rise this year. Although his four-seam velocity has not recovered, he is on a roll with a good mix of changeups in the 70s and curves that slow down to the 60s. Ryu Hyun-jin, who thought he was getting older, is actually evolving.