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Blue Jays' Ryu Hyun-jin shaky for 2nd straight outing, dealing with sore arm

All News 09:23 April 17, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Early season woes continued for the Toronto Blue Jays' South Korean starter Ryu Hyun-jin, with an extra day's rest not providing any relief for the struggling veteran.

Ryu was touched up for five runs on six hits, including a home run, in four innings against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre in Toronto on Saturday (local time). Ryu was pulled after four frames with the Blue Jays down 5-1, and his teammates let him off the hook by tying the game in the bottom sixth.

The Blue Jays gave up two runs in the top ninth for a 7-5 loss.

Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters afterward that Ryu was experiencing soreness in his left forearm following the game. He underwent treatment and the team will determine Sunday whether Ryu will need to go for imaging, Montoyo added.

In this Canadian Press photo via the Associated Press, Toronto Blue Jays' starter Ryu Hyun-jin (L) reacts to a home run by Sean Murphy of the Oakland Athletics (R) during the top of the third inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto on April 16, 2022. (Yonhap)

This was Ryu's second straight no-decision to begin the season. He has allowed 11 runs in 7 1/3 innings over those two starts for an unseemly ERA of 13.50.

Ryu had been in line to start Friday against the Athletics, but the Blue Jays opted to give him an additional day off, with swingman Ross Stripling making a spot start Friday.

And the game began quietly enough for Ryu, who retired the side in order in the top of the first inning on 12 pitches. He struck out Jed Lowrie looking at an inside cutter to cap off the clean frame.

In this Canadian Press photo via the Associated Press, Toronto Blue Jays' starter Ryu Hyun-jin pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto on April 16, 2022. (Yonhap)

But after the Blue Jays gave Ryu a 1-0 lead in the bottom first, wheels came off rather abruptly in the top second for the South Korean starter.

The Athletics touched him for four consecutive hits, including three doubles, to start that inning. Sean Murphy doubled to lead things off and Sheldon Neuse brought him home with a single to right field to tie the score at 1-1.

Neuse advanced to second when right fielder Raimel Tapia missed his cutoff man with a throw. Kevin Smith then hit another double to cash in Neuse for a 2-1 Oakland lead.

Christian Bethancourt's ground rule double down the right field line drove in another run to make it 3-1 for the visitors.

In this USA Today Sports photo via Reuters, Toronto Blue Jays' starter Ryu Hyun-jin pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto on April 16, 2022. (Yonhap)

After a chat with pitching coach Pete Walker, Ryu got three quick outs to put out the fire.

This was reminiscent of the fourth-inning disaster for Ryu against the Texas Rangers in his season debut last Sunday, when he'd allowed four consecutive hits before getting lifted.

The Athletics added two more runs in the top of the third.

Following a one-out single by Lowrie, Murphy blasted a home run to center field to put the Athletics ahead 5-1. At a 2-0 count, Ryu left an 88.2-mph fastball over the heart of the plate, and Murphy crushed it into the upper deck in left-center field, 452 feet away.

Ryu worked a clean fourth inning, with two ground outs sandwiching a fly out, but his day was done after 53 pitches, 33 of them strikes. Reliever Trent Thornton took over to begin the fifth.

Ryu had a dismal finish to his 2021 season, pitching to a 7.78 ERA over his final five starts, and has picked up where he left off in the worst possible way.

He has not been able to locate his pitches for the past several outings, and opponents have been feasting on his mistakes. Because Ryu will never overpower hitters and mask his command problems with velocity, he will get knocked around unless he can work the corners with pinpoint control.

Oakland hitters took 26 swings on Ryu's 53 pitches and whiffed only four times.

In this Getty Images photo, Toronto Blue Jays' starter Ryu Hyun-jin pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto on April 16, 2022. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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