Toronto Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin won a victory in his second spring training start, making the season more promising for his team.
The 33-year-old South Korean gained a victory by tossing four shutout innings in a 4-0 win over the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida, on Monday (local time).
Ryu’s fastball was a highlight on that day. He pitched powerful fastballs at 90.4 mph, even touching 92.2 mph. Fastballs are essential for him to play to his strengths as he has various pitching styles including a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup. “For the season, his fastball averaged 89.6 mph, down from 90.6 mph a year ago. He was beaten in matches where his fastball velocity was slower,” the Athletic reported last year, highlighting the importance of fastball velocity.
Ryu won four strikeouts in total in the first and the third innings on that day with his fastballs. When his team’s first and second bases were taken by three hits in a row, he closed the inning without allowing a run with a fly and a strike-out. He pitched scoreless 1, 2 and 4 innings. He was planning to pitch up to 60 balls that day during four innings but ended up needing just 49 pitches. He threw 15 more pitches in the bullpen and met his target delivery.
"My pitch count has been building up slowly, and I should be ready before the start of the regular season, a couple of weeks from now," Ryu said after the match. “His pitches have looked like they’re ready for Opening Day for some time now. Ryu’s changeup was particularly sharp,” MLB.com reported.
Ryu is likely to match against the New York Yankees on April 2, the opening game of the season. He is eyeing on starting the opening game in three consecutive years since 2019 when he was at the Los Angeles Dodgers. “Ryu Hyun-jin’s fastballs were powerful and curve balls were excellent,” said Charlie Montoyo, manager of his team. When he was asked whether Ryu would start the opening match, he said, “We still have two and a half weeks until the opening match.”
Hong-Gu Kang firstname.lastname@example.org