Three wins and an ERA of 0.73 in his last six games. Even the top-ranked Kia Tigers seemed untouchable, but they don’t have the best batting average for nothing. Kia broke the big nose of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 78-win pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (37-Hanwha Eagles).

Kia hosted Hanwha in a doubleheader of the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League at the Gwangju-KIA Champions Field, and the matchup between Ryu and the Kia lineup in Game 1 caught the attention of baseball fans as much as the outcome.

Ryu returned to Hanwha for this season. Hanwha paid him a record-breaking eight-year, 17 billion won contract. The pitcher was well worth it.

He had a rough start to the season, but he”s over the hump. In his last six games, he’s been in “dominant mode. He still has a powerful fastball and a great changeup, but his pitches stayed on the right track, 안전카지노사이트 and hitters were impressed.

In the first inning, he struck out Socrates Brito and Do-Young Kim in succession. The three-pitch strikeout of Kim Do-young was the highlight of Ryu’s outing. After hitting the first pitch right down the line, Ryu’s second pitch was a backdoor cutter that curved in from the outside. A changeup was thrown to induce a false swing, but Ryu was in a similar position to the first pitch. The 145-mile-per-hour pitch was perfectly placed and Kim froze.

Han scored two runs in the top of the second and Ryu stepped up his game. At the plate, he faced Choi Hyung-woo, who was batting .400 (16-for-40) with four home runs against Ryu until that point. He was on the verge of making it to the U.S., but the matchup was too good to ignore, so expectations were high.

But once again, Ryu was the better pitcher. Ryu threw a fastball to draw a foul in the first inning, then took the second pitch outside, and in the third, he put a 108-mile-per-hour slow curveball in the zone that caught Choi off guard. On a 1-2 pitch count, Ryu was quick again. A high fastball to the top of the zone, Choi’s bat sliced through the air.

In the third inning, Hanwha scored three more runs and Kia had runners on first and third with nobody out, but Ryu showed his crisis management skills by getting Park Chan-ho to fly out to left field and Socrates to strike out with three consecutive high fastballs.

It looked like the five-run gap would be difficult to close against Ryu, but the Kia bats proved that they weren’t leading the season for nothing. In the bottom of the fourth inning, leadoff hitter Kim Do-young drove Ryu’s changeup over the center field fence on a 1-1 count. The third-year hitter, who is playing his first full-time at-bat of the season, fired a cannonball to protect the pride of the ace, who leads the team with a .341 batting average this season. With her 20th home run, Kim joined the 20-homer, 20-stolen base club in the first half.

Before the shock wore off, Ryu was hit by something even worse. On a full count, a fastball outside the zone was driven over the left-field fence by Choi Hyung-woo. With the bases loaded and two outs, Ryu fanned Park Chan-ho to shortstop to minimize the damage.

The game still looked to be in Hanwha’s favor with a three-run lead, but in the top of the fifth, another incident occurred. Socrates, who had struck out twice in a row earlier, this time took a high fastball for a walk. Kim Do-young once again singled off Ryu Hyun-jin. Choi again struck out on a three-pitch at-bat, but then unleashed another ace cannon. With the count 1-1, he lined a fastball up the middle for a game-tying three-run homer over the left-field wall.

Ryu was pulled after throwing 104 pitches and giving up five runs in five innings. Hanwha would go on to win the game 9-8, but it was a solid confidence booster for Kia against the league’s best ace.

Riding that momentum, KIA pounded out nine hits against another Hanwha ace, Jaime Barria, and scored four runs. Temporary starter Lim Gi-young also pitched 5⅓ innings of one-run ball to complete the sweep.

The team gained another confidence boost by shutting down the league’s strongest one-two punch. It was a physically demanding doubleheader, but the rewards were more than worth it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *