November 15, 2019 11:09
Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday returned home after the best season of his Major League Baseball career. He was welcomed by a throng of fans and reporters at Incheon International Airport.
After kicking off the season as a starter in the Dodgers' opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 28, Ryu posted 14 wins, five losses and 163 strikeouts, while pitching 182 2/3 innings in 28 games. He finished the season with the MLB's lowest ERA of 2.32, becoming the first Asian player to achieve the feat.
"Good physical condition led to good performances. I would give myself 99 out of 100 points. I'm not giving the full score because of the slump I went through starting in mid-August," Ryu said. At one point he was the strongest candidate for the Cy Young Award, given to the best pitcher of the season. His ERA stood at 1.45 on Aug. 12, but jumped to 2.45 after he suffered three losses in the four following games, giving away 24 runs.
In the results of the voting for the Cy Young Award for the National League announced on Wednesday by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Ryu earned the second-most points with 88 -- one vote for first place, 10 for second place and eight for third place.
The honor went to Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, who swept 29 out of 30 votes for first place to earn 207 points, while Mark Scherzer of the Washington Nationals finished third with 72 points. Ryu has better records in terms of wins and losses, and ERA, but deGrom pitched more innings, with 255, and posted the league's best record of 255 strikeouts. He won all 30 votes for first place in last year's vote.
Sports columnist Mark Whicker cast the lone first-place vote for Ryu, making him the first Asian pitcher ever to garner a first-place vote.
Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros, who finished the season with 21 wins and six losses and an ERA of 2.58, won the award for the American League.
"I never expected to win a first-place vote. It feels good to get one," Ryu said.
Meanwhile, Ryu and his wife Bae Ji-hyun are expecting a baby in June.
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