Comeback game is ‘half success’, fill in the other half [Ryu Hyun-jin preview].

Ryu Hyun-jin makes his second start of the season after returning from Tommy John surgery. This time, it’s on the road. He’ll face the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are in second place in the American League Central with 54 wins and 58 losses.

Toronto Blue Jays (Hyun-jin Ryu)바카라 at Cleveland Indians (Gavin Williams), Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH

Aug. 8 at 8:10 a.m. (7:10 p.m. local Aug. 7)

Local coverage: Sportsnet (Toronto), Valisports Great Lakes (Cleveland), MLB Network (national coverage except in tie-in markets)

South Korean coverage: Spotify Prime

Hyun-jin Ryu allowed four runs in five innings in his comeback. Photo by MK Sports DB
Half a success
Ryu Hyun-jin made his comeback on Aug. 2 (KST) at home against the Baltimore Orioles. In his first major league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery 13 and a half months ago, he gave up four runs on nine hits, one home run, one walk, and three strikeouts in five innings. He took the loss as his team lost.

Ryu threw 80 pitches on the day. He threw 33 four-seam fastballs, 22 changeups, 20 curves, and five cutters. His fastball topped out at 91 mph, while his curve dropped to 69.4 mph. The velocity differential was a clear indication that he was trying to keep batters off balance. Opposing hitters swung at 40 of his 80 pitches in the air, 32 of which were for contact. Nineteen balls went for pitches, 10 of which were hard-hit balls with bat speeds over 95 mph, and six of those 10 went for line drives.

After giving up an early run, she settled down and was able to get through the sixth inning. It would have been even better if he hadn’t given up a home run in his final at-bat against Gunnar Henderson. Ryu was unable to hide his disappointment after the game. While his fastball velocity improved as the game went on and his curveball came alive, it was disappointing to see the two wings, changeup and cutter, that have made him so successful in the big leagues, all go silent. The flip side of the coin is that the fact that he went five innings without either of his pitches is a sign of how good he is.

Toronto completed the sweep against Boston. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
Sweet sweep
Toronto previously swept a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox on the road. They bounced back from a disappointing four-game home series against Baltimore with a 1-3 record. The starters all pitched well. Alec Manoa pitched 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball, Jose Berrios pitched 5 2/3 innings of three-run ball, and Chris Bassett pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball. Now, Hyun-jin Ryu needs to keep the momentum going.

Bo Bissett is out with a knee injury, but rookie Davis Schneider has been incredible in his last three games, going 9-for-13 with two home runs and five RBIs. Veteran Brandon Belt is also making his presence felt, going 8-for-21 with two home runs and three RBIs in six games. George Springer has also shown signs of breaking out of his slump, going 8-for-22 with a home run and three RBIs in six games.

He’s not at full strength. He has a lot of nagging injuries. Ryu’s best friend, Danny Jansen, has been in pain since being hit in the wrist by a 99 mph fastball from Shintaro Fujinami during the last home game against Baltimore. For now, it doesn’t appear to be anything major, but the team is taking a cautious approach. Alejandro Kirk may wear a catcher’s mask for tonight’s game. Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier received eight stitches for a cut on his right elbow after crashing into the fence while fielding in the sixth inning of the previous game. His status is day-to-day.

Jose Ramirez is Cleveland’s leadoff hitter. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
Fond memories
Hyun-jin Ryu has faced Cleveland three times in his career, going 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA (6 runs in 19 innings). He has faced them twice since being traded to Toronto. Both came in 2021. On May 29 on the road, he battled inclement weather and pitched five innings of four-hit ball with two walks and six strikeouts in a blowout 11-2 win. On August 4 at home, he pitched seven innings of seven-hit ball with eight strikeouts and two runs in a 7-2 win. Cleveland’s home stadium, Progressive Field, has another special place in his heart. He pitched for the National League in the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, so he’ll be back on the mound at a stadium he has fond memories of.

The Cleveland Indians are a completely different team than the one he will face in 2021. The only batters he’s faced before are Cole Calhoun, Jose Ramirez, and Miles Straw, the latter of whom he faced when he was with the Angels. Things haven’t been going well for the Angels lately. They lost two straight to the Houston Astros and split their last three games at home against the Chicago White Sox. The previous game was a blowout, with three runs in the ninth inning alone. With the bases loaded and two outs, closer Immanuel Clase induced a grounder to third base, but first baseman Calhoun couldn’t quite get a handle on third baseman Brayan Rocchio’s bound ball. The day before, Ramirez had gotten into a fistfight with opposing shortstop Tim Anderson. It’s possible that Ramirez could be facing a slew of disciplinary actions ahead of this game. Of course, he could still play if he appeals.

Oscar Gonzalez has been hitting well of late. He has six hits in 17 at-bats in five games. Andres Jimenez is also 5-for-22 with one home run and two RBIs in six games. Josh Naylor is a left-handed hitter, but he’s the one to watch out for the most. The left-handed sophomore is batting .289 (28-for-97) with four home runs and 15 RBIs this season. Ramirez is also hitting just .219 (30-for-137) against lefties, but he does have six home runs against them.

Ryu vs. Cleveland batters (regular season)

Cole Calhoun 1-for-3 with a double, home run, and RBI

Jose Ramirez 6 at-bats, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout.

Myles Straw 7 at-bats, 2 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts.

Gavin Williams is a rookie who made his debut this year. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
Fearless rookie
Opposing starter Gavin Williams, 24, is a rookie making his debut this year. The former first-round pick of the 2021 draft was a top prospect, ranked No. 20 in Baseball America’s preseason league prospect rankings and No. 42 by He made a successful transition to the big leagues this season. In eight games and 42 2/3 innings pitched, he has a 3.38 ERA, 1.336 WHIP, 0.8 home runs, 4.4 walks, and 7.8 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s gone five or more innings in six of his eight starts and allowed three earned runs or less in six of them. In his last start, he held a tough Houston Astros lineup to two runs in five innings.

According to Baseball Servant, he has a 90th percentile average batted ball velocity, an 80th percentile hard hit rate, and a 92nd percentile on-base percentage. Conversely, his strikeout rate is in the 35th percentile, his walk rate is in the 11th percentile, and he induces 46% swinging strikes. He has a 95.5 mph four-seam fastball (58.1%), an 83.6 mph slider (20.2%), a 76 mph curve (16.5%), and an 88.3 mph changeup (5.2%).

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