Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers is warming up for his last appearance this regular season to set in stone his record of the best ERA in the Major League Baseball.
Jacob deGrom, Ryu’s rival from the New York Mets, has finished his last 7 innings Wednesday with a clean sheet, lowering his ERA from 2.51 to 2.43 against the Miami Marlins. The Mets won by 10-3, and deGrom grabbed his 11th win this season (8 losses).
Ryu’s ERA, currently 2.41, is thinly ahead of deGrom’s, and the Korean pitcher’s last appearance against San Francisco slated for Saturday will decide the winner of the best ERA title of the season. If Ryu does not make the outing and is made to focus on preps for post season, his ERA will be frozen, and the title will go to the Korean. Given that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has already announced a plan for his post season rotation, however, it is unlikely that Ryu will enjoy additional care from the manager to maintain his personal title.
In order for the Korean to remain on top of the ERA competition, he must not concede more than two earned runs. If he allows three runs even over nine innings, the ERA will shoot up to 2.44, higher than deGrom’s. If the earned run stands at two, he must pitch more than 6 and 1/3 innings, and if it is one, pitching three innings will suffice for him to secure the title. In other words, Ryu must pitch a quality start (less than 3 earned runs in more than six innings) to become the holder of the best ERA this season. The Korean pulled off 22 quality starts out of 28 outings this year.
If he succeeds, Ryu will become the first Asian player to hold the title. The best ERA record for an Asian pitcher belongs to Hideo Nomo, whose 2.52 ERA ranked him second in the National League competition in 1995. Unlike the Korean baseball league, personal titles are not celebrated with a separate award ceremony in the MLB.