The Art of 104km Slow… The ‘Monster’ Evolves Again

Rogers Centre on May 27, 2017 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, during a Major League Baseball (MLB) game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians. Toronto starting pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu throws a decisive curveball to Andres Jimenez at the plate with two outs in the fourth inning. Jimenez’s bat sailed wide of the plate on the pitch, which traveled a large trajectory toward the catcher’s mitt. The curveball was clocked at just 104 kilometers per hour. It was the slowest pitch induced by a pitcher in the MLB in the 2023 season. It was a perfect transition for Ryu, whose fastball topped 150 kilometers per hour and timing-robbing changeup helped him win the Cy Young Award.

Toronto’s Hyun-jin Ryu delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against Cleveland at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Sunday. TORONTO=USATODAY
Ryu Hyun-jin used his veteran presence and command to earn his third win of the season (1-1).

The right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits over five innings to lead Toronto to an 8-3 victory on Sunday. He threw 70 pitches, 49 of which were strikes. Of his 29 four-seam fastballs, his highest velocity was only 146 kilometers per hour, which isn’t exactly appealing in the big leagues. But Ryu’s pitches traveled freely in the strike zone. He mixed in 13 curves, 19 changeups, and nine cutters to keep Cleveland in check. Ryu didn’t walk a batter and struck out five.

The start was shaky. In the first inning, Jose Ramirez led off with a solo home run on a 141-mile-per-hour fastball. The Toronto bats responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to 3-1, taking some of the pressure off Ryu’s shoulders. Ryu gave up another solo shot to Tyler Freeman in the top of the fifth, but he got out of the inning without allowing another run.

Ryu took the mound in the top of the sixth inning with a 5-2 lead, but a series of errors by the Toronto infield prevented him from achieving a quality start (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs). After giving up a leadoff single to Cole Calhoun, Ryu induced a grounder to Ramirez at third base for the second out of the inning. But third baseman Matt Chapman made an error, leaving runners on first and second with no outs. Ryu induced another grounder to the next batter, Oscar Gonzalez, but this time shortstop Santiago Espinal dropped the ball. With the bases loaded on a single and two errors, Ryu had already given the mound to Garcia. Garcia gave up a hard-hit ball to Ramon Loreano, giving Ryu his third run of the game, but it was unearned due to an error. Ryu’s ERA increased slightly from 1.89 to 2.25.

Despite the decrease in velocity, Ryu has been performing like a top-notch pitcher in the league, as he has thrown 24 innings in five games, striking out 20 while walking just five. His batting average is just 0.211 and his WHIP (walks allowed per inning) is 1.00.스포츠토토

Toronto manager John Schneider praised Ryu’s pitching after the game, saying, “He’s efficient and has great command.” “The most important thing is that I’m healthy, but I’m not surprised (that I’ve regained my velocity),” Ryu said, “I’m able to throw the ball where I need to because I’m back in shape.”

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