“20 Home Run Batter” couldn’t swing once and struck out three pitches!…This is Ryu Hyun-jin’s class

Ryu Hyun-jin, who returned to his former team Hanwha Eagles, successfully completed his first start in an exhibition game based on his strength in control.

Ryu Hyun-jin contributed to his team’s 9-1 victory by starting the exhibition game against the KIA Tigers in the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on the 12th and allowing three hits, three strikeouts and one run in four innings.

Ryu Hyun-jin, who has played bullpen pitching, live pitching, and his own Cheongbaek match, played his first real game against a team other than Hanwha. It is the first time in 4,177 days that Ryu Hyun-jin has taken the mound in the KBO League, including an exhibition game, since a home game against Nexen Heroes (currently Kiwoom) on October 4, 2012.

Ryu got off to a flying start in the top of the first inning when he induced the first batter Park Chan-ho to hit a grounder, but was immediately hit by a double by second batter Lee Woo-sung. With one out and a runner on the second base, he gave up the first run when Kim Do-young hit a timely RBI single.

However, Ryu Hyun-jin, who maintained his composure, filled the out count with Na Sung-beom’s fly ball to the second base with one out and one out, and finished the inning with Socrates Brito’s grounder to the second base with two outs.

The batters scored nine points in the bottom of the first inning alone, widening the score between the two teams to 9-1, and Ryu Hyun-jin, who felt more comfortable, cooked the KIA batters with elaborate control. In particular, the audience cheered when he struck out Choi Hyung-woo, who recorded a career batting average of 0.400 (16 hits in 40 at-bats) against him with no outs in the top of the second inning.

The highlight of the game was the game against Socrates, a runner on the second base, in the top of the fourth inning with no outs. Ryu used a curveball to the outside, and the ABS declared a strike. He threw his second fastball to a similar course to get a second strike, and then struck out three with a lower fastball to the outside.

Socrates, who entered his third year in the KBO League, is a mid- to long-distance hitter who hit 17 homers in 2022 and 20 homers last year. He hit a home run in a game against the NC Dinos in Changwon on Saturday, the first exhibition game of this year. However, he was helpless due to Ryu’s precise control, and couldn’t hide his disappointment due to the referee’s call to strike out.

Taking a breather with Socrates’ strikeout, Ryu confidently continued his pitching, and grounded two batters, Choi Hyung-woo and Kim Sun-bin, to keep the inning tight. Ryu, who planned to play 60-65 pitches in four innings before the game, finished his mission with a light heart, filling up all of his scheduled pitches.

His teammates were also surprised by Ryu’s control. “I think he is the best pitcher I have ever seen in my life. I felt this during the Blue and White game, but he seems to have the ability to throw all the pitches that I want to throw. It was really comfortable when playing defense, and I think he gave me time to focus on the fielders,” Noh said.

KIA infielder Kim Do-young, who met Ryu for the first time at bat, said, “I think Ryu Hyun-jin’s pitches were all perfect. In particular, I felt that Ryu Hyun-jin had excellent ball control and a fastball was stronger than his speed. I think I had a valuable experience.” 밤알바

Adapting to ABS, which will be officially introduced starting this year, is also unlikely to have any major problems. Some say that Ryu’s control, which penetrates every corner of the strike zone, will stand out more.

“Didn’t the ball count as a ball because it didn’t go into the zone? I don’t think the players can protest about that either,” Ryu said. “Since each batter’s strike zone is different, I think (ABS) will have difficulties in that regard. Excluding that, I think (ABS) is fair.”

Meanwhile, Ryu will take a four-day break before holding the final rehearsal at the Lotte Giants game in Busan on Wednesday. If there is no problem, he will take the mound as the starting pitcher at the opening game of the regular season against the LG Twins at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Wednesday.

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