‘Streak-chaser’ Ryu Hyun-jin faces 164-mile-per-hour prospect

Fresh off his first win since returning from the disabled list on April 14, Ryu Hyun-jin will look to continue his winning streak in Cincinnati.메이저놀이터

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu will take the mound against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 21 (ET). After earning his first win since returning to the big leagues on April 14 against the Chicago Cubs with five innings of two-hit ball, two walks, three strikeouts and two runs (unearned), Hyun-jin Ryu will look to pick up his first road win of the season against Cincinnati.

Toronto, which sits in third place in the American League East with 67 wins and 55 losses through 18 games, is in a tight race for the American League Wild Card, holding a half-game lead over the Seattle Mariners. Cincinnati is also tied for the fourth National League wild card with the Cubs, making every game crucial for both teams in the fall baseball race. The Rays will need another strong performance from Hyun-jin Ryu, who is returning to the form he had as Toronto’s ace.

Expect a return of Bissett, ‘Toronto’s best hitter this year’

It’s not uncommon for younger prospects to undergo surgery to remove anything that could hinder their future careers. However, many veteran athletes are hesitant to undergo surgery, even if it’s for a medical condition. This is because if the surgery goes wrong or the rehabilitation doesn’t go well, the athlete may not be able to regain their former performance, or in the worst case scenario, their career could be ruined.

However, at the tender age of 35, Hyun-jin Ryu chose to undergo an elbow ligament reconstruction, which is not an easy surgery. When he underwent the surgery, there was a lot of skepticism about his comeback. But Ryu, who had already undergone the same surgery as a schoolboy, didn’t hesitate and returned to the big league mound after 13 months, earning his first major league start in 444 days against the Cubs on April 14.

One piece of good news for Ryu and Toronto heading into Cincinnati is that shortstop Bo Bissett, who was batting .321 with 17 home runs and 59 RBIs this season before suffering a knee injury on April 1, is expected to return. Bissett recently made a Triple-A rehab assignment and could return to action as early as a three-game series against Cincinnati. Bisset’s return will be a huge boost for Toronto and Ryu, considering that Paul DeJong, who was acquired after Bisset’s injury, is just 3-for-44 (.068 OPS) for Toronto.

On the mound, he’s already got solid support. All-Star bullpen arm Jordan Romo, who has 26 saves in the first half of this year alone, following 23 saves in 2021 and 36 in 2022. After being placed on the disabled list with back tightness on July 29 against the Los Angeles Angels, Romo returned to the big leagues on July 16 against the Philadelphia Phillies. In his first game back, Romo pitched a one-hit, two-strikeout perfect game to earn his 29th save of the season.

Contain Cincinnati’s ‘first-place team stolen base’ mobility

Cincinnati hasn’t been a strong team in recent years, having only made it to fall ball once in the last nine years, but this season they’ve emerged as a dark horse in the National League with a number of young prospects in the lineup. In fact, 39-year-old veteran Joey Votto, who has been a fixture in Cincinnati’s lineup for the past decade, has been relegated to pinch-hitting and backup duties this season, while second-year big leaguer Spencer Steer, who has 18 home runs and 66 RBIs through 18 days, has taken over the first base job.

Cincinnati’s starting pitcher against Ryu will be second-year big leaguer Hunter Green, who was born in 1999. In 38 games since making his big league debut in 2022, Green is 7-17 with a 4.25 ERA, so he doesn’t have the career numbers to compare to Ryu, who has 76 big league wins. However, Hunter has a tremendous fastball that tops out at over 100 miles per hour and is being groomed as the next ace in Cincinnati. However, his fastball is a little shaky compared to his power, so Toronto hitters will have to be careful.

Cincinnati is a very mobile team, leading the majors in team stolen bases this season (139). No player has more than 30 stolen bases on the season, but there are seven players with double-digit steals. This means that Ryu Hyun-jin, who is known for allowing fewer stolen bases in the major leagues, will need to be able to keep the ball in play. If he can contain Cincinnati’s mobility, he’ll be able to keep his streak alive.v

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