Dodgers' Ryu Hyun-jin Off to Best Start of His Career

  • By Sung Jin-hyuk

    May 14, 2019 10:36

    Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers is having the best season of his career, amassing five wins in the shortest period of time, and going at least eight innings for three consecutive games for the first time since his Major League debut.

    Ryu started for the Dodgers against the Washington Nationals at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium on Sunday, striking out nine and allowing one hit and one walk over eight innings for his fifth victory of this season. The Dodgers won the game 6-0, firmly holding the lead in the National League West with 27 wins and 16 losses.

    Ryu gave up a walk to Brian Dozier in the fourth inning with one out, but other than that he was on track for a no hitter until after the first out in the eighth inning. A double by veteran hitter Gerardo Parra to the outfield was the heartbreaker. As Ryu wrapped up the eighth inning and walked to the dugout, the crowd of over 45,000 gave him a standing ovation.

    Crowds cheer for Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers as he walks off the field during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals in Los Angeles on Sunday. /AP-Yonhap

    It was Ryu's 45th career win in the big league and his fifth victory after eight starts this season. Ryu took 10 games to reach five wins in his debut season in 2013, and nine games in 2014. In those first two seasons, Ryu had 14 wins each, becoming a key member of the Dodgers' starting rotation. However, injuries and his subsequent shoulder surgery in 2015 kept him largely sidelined, and from 2015 to 2018, he managed just 12 wins.

    But things seemed to have changed this season. Although he was on the disabled list for 10 days due to pain in his left leg last month, when he returned, he was even stronger. Ryu threw at least eight innings in his last three starts, and did not give up a run for 24 consecutive innings.

    The parents of Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers pose for a picture at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Sunday. /Courtesy of Los Angeles Dodgers

    After Sunday's game, the Los Angeles Times reported that Ryu has been "establishing himself as an early contender for the National League Cy Young Award." Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also praised him, saying, "To watch him work as a technician, it was masterful."

    Ryu pitched a shutout against the Atlanta Braves on May 8, which was Parents' Day in Korea as well as the birthday of his mother. Another win by Ryu in his next start, which fell on Mothers' Day in the U.S., must have been a nice present for his mother as well. She was one of four mothers of Dodgers' players who were invited to throw out a first pitch on Sunday, along with the mothers of Cody Bellinger, Austin Barnes and Alex Verdugo.

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