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Expectations for Ryu Hyun-jin’s new scoreless innings streak

Expectations for Ryu Hyun-jin’s new scoreless innings streak

Posted May. 22, 2019 08:00,   

Updated May. 22, 2019 08:00


Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has garnered enormous attention and acclamation from the American media since his recent nice pitches made him become current No.1 in terms of ERA (1.52) in the Major League.

Ryu’s name was brought into the spotlight on “power rankings” by team, which was published on Monday according to major U.S. sports media outlets. ESPN put Dodgers second following the Houston Astros, commenting that Ryu’s show would go on.

What has put Ryu at the center of U.S. media attention is his scoreless innings streak. Firing seven scoreless innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday, the 32-year-old Korean extended the scoreless streak to 31 innings. Almost all the U.S. media including the official Major League website have reported that Ryu ranks joint 10th in terms of scoreless innings streaks in Dodgers’ history, implying that he wrote a new chapter of the record book. Dodgers Nation, which mainly covers the team, wrote that Ryu ranks 10th jointly with Bob Miller (1964) and Fernando Valenzuela (1980-81) with his new scoreless streak record set on the day.

One more South Korean pitcher is worth attention. It is Park Chan-ho who was a high-performing Dodgers starter, who recorded 33 consecutive scoreless innings in 2000 and 2001. Throwing 25 scoreless innings over the three last matches in 2000 – one with Arizona and the two with the San Diego Padres, Park returned to a match with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001, becoming the first Korean starter at an opening game of the Major League. Park kept seven innings scoreless on April 3, 2001, making him be the winning pitcher.

Dodgers are known for its pitchers with record scoreless streaks including Park Chan-ho and Sandy Koufax. The two legendary pitchers with scoreless streak records in the Major League played for Dodgers - Orel Hershiser’ 59 scoreless innings (1988) and Don Drysdale’s 58 innings (1968). More recently, Zack Greinke, currently in Arizona, threw 45 scoreless innings back in 2015. Star left-hander Clayton Kershaw set scoreless records with 41 and 37 innings in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Ryu is scheduled to play in a away match with Pittsburg on May 27, hunting for his 7th win of the season. With the first three innings kept scoreless, Ryu is expected to surpass Park and Koufax. Going forward, an extra 10 scoreless innings will allow him to stand shoulder to shoulder with Kershaw.

Asked a question to compare with Ryu, Park has commended the current Dodgers pitcher highly in a recent interview, answering that the current level of performance has improved way more incredibly and sophisticatedly than when he played.

Heon-Jae Lee uni@donga.com