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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin to face Yankees for 1st time this season

All News 09:20 September 07, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Yonhap) -- Ryu Hyun-jin will take on his old nemesis, the New York Yankees, for the first time as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays this week.

Ryu has been named the Blue Jays' starter for the opening tilt of a three-game series at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, at 6:37 p.m. Monday (local time), or 7:37 a.m. Tuesday in South Korea. Ryu has a 3-1 record after eight starts this year with a 2.51 ERA, the fourth lowest in the AL.

In this Getty Images photo, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Miami Marlins in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Marlins Park in Miami on Sept. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

This is the very first meeting of the two American League (AL) East rivals this season. With the Tampa Bay Rays perched at the top of the division, the Blue Jays and the Yankees are locked in a battle for the second spot. Following Sunday's action, the Blue Jays were 22-18, one game ahead of the Yankees and 5.5 behind the Rays.

The Blue Jays have 20 games left in this truncated, 60-game season, and half of those 20 will be against the Yankees.

On a personal level, this will be Ryu's chance at redemption against the Yankees, which roughed him up in his most recent meeting against them last year while he was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In this Associated Press file photo from Aug. 28, 2020, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York. (Yonhap)

On Aug. 23, 2019, in the midst of his worst stretch of that season, Ryu served up seven runs on nine hits, including three long balls, in just 4 1/3 innings against the Yankees. He had maintained a sub-2.00 ERA for over three months prior to that outing.

Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious took Ryu deep at Dodger Stadium. Judge and Sanchez are both injured, as is another slugger, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gregorious signed with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent last winter.

The Yankees still have other boppers. Former NL batting champion DJ LeMahieu is batting a robust .363, which would put him at the top of the AL leaderboard if he had enough at-bats to qualify. Designated hitter Luke Voit is tied for third in the AL with 13 home runs.

While playing for the Dodgers for seven years in the National League (NL) West, Ryu only faced the Bronx Bombers twice. He has an 8.71 ERA in 10 1/3 innings against them, with 14 hits, including four homers.

If Ryu stays on regular rest, he could face the Yankees again on Sept. 17 at Yankee Stadium.

In this Getty Images file photo from Aug. 22, 2020, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays (L) bumps fists with his catcher Reese McGuire before a Major League Baseball regular season game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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