Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers continued his solid play despite the unsatisfying performance of his go-to pitch, changeup, and infield defense. He did not achieve his 10th win of the season but maintained the No. 1 position in ERA (1.27) with a quality start for 11 games in a row.
The South Korean pitcher started the home game against the Colorado Rockies in the Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California on Saturday (local time) and conceded three runs (one earned run), six hits and one walk while getting five strikeouts during six innings. Ryu left the mound to relief pitcher Yimi Garcia in the seventh inning at 3-3 with no win or loss on his end. His ERA went up from 1.26 to 1.27. The Dodgers won 5-4 with a finishing home run by Alex Verdugo in the bottom of the 11th inning.
Ryu’s go-to pitch changeup was not up to the usual standards during the game on Saturday. His second changeup against Ian Desmond of the Rockies allowed a two-base hit in the first inning with one out. The Rockies’ clean-up batter Nolan Arenado also hit Ryu’s fifth changeup, adding one run. Peter Lambert, the first batter of the third inning, also swung at the third changeup by Ryu and made it to the first base. Three out of six hits Ryu conceded on Sunday were from changeups.
The infield defense of the Dodgers was disappointing as well. Charlie Blackmon's grounder added one more runner in the third inning with no out due to a mistake by shortstop Chris Taylor. The following hit by Desmond came in at an unfortunate timing for the Dodgers, adding one more run to the total score of the Rockies. Dodgers first baseman Joc Pederson made a mistake trying to catch a ball and failed to make a double play after a grounder by Daniel Murphy of the Rockies with one out and full base, adding another run to the Rockies. Two runs allowed by the Dodgers in the third inning were unearned runs. “I pitched with as few runs as possible. I could throw until the sixth inning because there was no back-to-back hit,” the Dodgers starting pitcher said after the game.
Ryu Hyun-jin will step on the mound on June 28 against the Rockies in the Coors Field, aka “grave of pitchers,” due to its location at an altitude of 1,600 meters. His four-match records in the Coors Field so far stand at one win and three losses with ERA of 7.56. “It is critical for Ryu to draw grounders from batters. A stable infield defense is also a must,” said Kim Sun-woo, a commentator at MBC.
Park Chan-ho, the legendary pitcher of the Dodgers, came to the Dodger Stadium with his daughter for the Sunday game of Ryu. MBC commentator Kim Byung-hyun spotted Park during the game and said, “Park Chan-ho, aka ‘too much talker,’ is also in the audience. He seems very busy talking even at the moment,” which brought on laughter among viewers.