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Ryu Hyun-jin shows stellar pitching, needs to adapt for 4-day rest

Ryu Hyun-jin shows stellar pitching, needs to adapt for 4-day rest

Posted April. 14, 2014 03:31,   


“It’s amazing.”

This is what Kevin Kennedy, baseball commentator at KLAC, the radio station dedicated to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the U.S. Major League Baseball, commented on performance by Ryu Hyun-jin, who displayed stellar pitching of two hits, eight strikeouts and no run during seven innings of the game against Arizona on Friday. No compliment can be better than that.

LA Coach Don Mattingly, who secured 6-0 shutout in the first game of three consecutive away games, said, “It was just one of those games that kind of went our way,” in complimenting Ryu’s impressive pitching. Ryu has now two wins and one loss, and has lowered his ERA to 2.57.

○ Ace pitching

Friday was the first day of the three-consecutive away game race of the big league. Most teams deployed their teams’ ace pitchers. Ryu received spotlight from sports news media after the game on the day.

The best pitching on the day was performed by Andrew Cashner, the ace of San Diego, who once faced off Ryu. Cashner led his team’s 6-0 shutout in the game against Detroit. He allowed one hit and two walks and garnered 11 strikeouts during nine innings. Ryu effectively ranked second in pitching performance. Darvish Yu of Texas also showed nice pitching by allowing one hit and one walk, securing nine strikeouts during eight innings, but failed to gain a win.

Arizona’s Paul Goldschudmidt, who was Ryu’s natural competitor in the previous season, had no run at three at bat, including one swing and miss in the first inning, and three-strike strikeouts in the sixth inning on Friday. On top of his five home runs, Mark Trumbo also struck out two batters. Of the eight strikeouts Ryu secured on the day, three were strikeouts. It means that he showed good pitching in body line pitches and out pitches. Throwing 99 pitches in total, he had 70 strikes. He thus threw 71 percent of his pitches as strikes, the highest among the ace pitchers who pitched on the day. After the game, Ryu said, “I was trying a little harder today. I attempted to throw low balls, and it seems to have worked.”

○ Gains and losses due to extra-day rest

After Friday’s game, the local media focused on Ryu’s additional rest. MLB is a long race involving 162 games, and if a pitcher is not a fifth starter of the team, he generally pitches on the fifth day after taking rest for four days.

KLAC said, “After taking more rest, Ryu displayed outstanding pitching. In Korea, he always pitched after taking rest for five days.” Admitting that “As I got accustomed to pitching after taking rest for five days in Korea, I was able to achieve good performance to some extent,” Ryu said as well. “I will have to play according to MLB schedules going forward.”

In reality, Ryu has had the best performance when pitching on the sixth day after taking five days off. On five days` rest, he had seven wins and one loss with a 2.12 ERA. He had five wins and five losses with a 3.79 ERA on four days` rest, and four wins and three losses, with a 2.56 ERA on six days or longer rest. Ryu’s physical conditions and records have been compatible each other.

If Ryu takes extra-day rests, the rotational schedule of the team’s starting pitchers should be adjusted to focus on Ryu. But this is difficult because Ryu is the third starter of his team. This problem will immediately surface when the team plays an away game against San Francisco, which Ryu will start. The team will move on Tuesday. If Ryu takes four days off, Paul Maholm can serve as bullpen pitcher. If the team gives Ryu an extra day of rest, it should deploy Maholm as starter in the game against San Francisco. From a long-term perspective, it is appropriate for Ryu to get accustomed to starting on the fifth day after taking four days` rest.