Toronto Blue Jays starter Hyun-jin Ryu will make his seventh start of the season. Their opponent is the Oakland Athletics, who are in last place in the American League West with 42 wins and 97 losses. They may be in last place, but they’re a major league team, so you can’t let your guard down.
Toronto Blue Jays (Ryu Hyun-jin) at Oakland Athletics (J.P. Sears), Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Sept. 7 at 4:37 a.m. (12:37 p.m. local time Sept. 6)
Local Coverage: Sportsnet (Toronto), NBC Sports California (Oakland)
Korean coverage: Spotify Prime
Ryu Hyun-jin pitched five innings of two-run ball in his last start against Colorado. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
Surviving the Rockies
Ryu Hyun-jin allowed two runs on four hits, one home run, two walks and three strikeouts in five innings against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday (Feb. 2). Threw a total of 76 pitches. He used every weapon in his arsenal, from his 90.1-mph four-seam fastball to his 62.4-mph slow curve, to survive at Coors Field, which is often referred to as “the graveyard of pitchers. He allowed 10 swings and misses, 14 fouls, and 11 walks and four hits. Seven of his 15 batted balls, nearly half, were hard-hit balls with bat speeds of 95 mph or higher.
He struggled with the high altitude at Coors Field, with a changeup that was supposed to be outside to righties coming in on the inside. He said he had been struggling with the ball not going where he wanted it since his bullpen warmup. In a place where you “just have to be better than the other guy,” he pitched better than the other guy and survived.
After giving up a home run in the third inning, he had runners on first and second and third with no outs. In the fourth inning, he gave up a walk on a questionable call, putting runners on first and second with no outs. He didn’t get the win, but he set the tone and helped his team to a 13-9 victory.
“I was trying to get a sacrifice fly as much as possible,” he said of the third inning situation with runners on second and third. I was trying to induce a strikeout or a grounder, and it worked, and I was able to get out of the jam,스포츠토토” he said, adding that he was determined not to allow a run.
Switching venues from the Rockies to California presented new challenges. For the first time this season, he’ll be pitching on four days’ rest, and in a day game. It will be interesting to see how he responds to four days of rest, his first since returning from Tommy John surgery. He’s been managing his pitch count in the 70-86 range in his starts this season.
He’ll also have to deal with a new catcher and breathing room, as Danny Jansen, who has been his go-to guy this season, is out with a broken finger. He’ll likely be joined by new backup catcher Tyler Heinemann. It’s not exactly unfamiliar territory. Heinemann and Ryu have never played together in a game, but have worked together in the bullpen. Ryu didn’t seem too concerned about the change in catchers.
Toronto moved back into the third wild-card spot with the win the previous day. Photo (Oakland, USA)=ⓒAFPBBNews = News1
38.4% to 62.9%.
Toronto was 3.5 games out of the third wild-card spot last week. At the time, FanGraphs.com gave the Jays a 38.4 percent chance of making the postseason. That has changed in a week. The Jays reclaimed the third wild-card spot by securing three consecutive best-of-three series against the Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, and Oakland. Fangraphs.com corrected their postseason odds to 62.9%. What a turnaround in a week.
Toronto manager John Schneider said, “Baseball is a crazy sport. There’s a lot of ups and downs,” said Toronto manager John Schneider, adding, “There’s still a lot of games left. You can’t look too far ahead. Things change every day,” he said, adding that the current position is meaningless. “I’m really proud of the way the guys are pulling together. They are coping well with the approach of pulling out all the stops. If we can maintain this position after the season is over, I will be very happy.”
Chris Bassett, who pitched eight innings of one-run ball the day before, added: “We have a lot of experienced players. Brandon Belt and George Springer have won championships, and me and Chappy (Matt Chapman) have been to the postseason. We know what we need to do and what we can do. We’re a mature group, and we’re just going to take care of our own business,” he said, emphasizing that the team will focus on their game regardless of their current standings.
Toronto is not at full strength right now. Beau Bissett and Chapman are out with injuries, and Belt has missed the last two games with abdominal pain. In their place are younger players like Davis Schneider, Ernie Clement, and Spencer Horwitz. It remains to be seen if they can make a difference in this match.
Ruiz has quick feet and will be tiring to play against. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
Ryu is 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts against Oakland. He has allowed nine runs in 15 innings. He has made two appearances since being acquired from Toronto. On May 7, 2021, he gave up four runs on six hits, one home run, one walk, and six strikeouts in five innings. Despite giving up a lot of runs, he was able to get the win with the help of his bats. On April 17, 2022, he struggled at home, giving up five runs on six hits in four innings with one walk and one strikeout. After that game, he was placed on the disabled list with a left forearm injury. He was expected to miss about a month.
Since then, Oakland has made a lot of changes to their roster. Only four players have faced Ryu before, with Aledmys Diaz getting the most at-bats with six. As with the previous games, the “unfamiliar matchup” factor should work in Ryu’s favor.
Lawrence Butler, who has been the hottest hitter of late with five doubles, three home runs, and six RBIs in his last 14 at-bats, will not be available for this game due to a funeral. In his place is Esteemed Ruiz, who is 6-for-15 with a double, home run, and three RBIs in six games. He’s a quick-footed player who can get tired if he’s allowed to get on base. Ryan Noda, who is 7-for-21 with two home runs and five RBIs in six games, and last month’s Rookie of the Month, Zack Gelbrecht, who is 8-for-26 with eight RBIs in six games, are other players to watch.
Noda, in particular, is a left-handed hitter with a .978 OPS with five home runs and 13 RBIs against lefties. Kemp is also a lefty, but he’s hitting .319 against lefties. Rooker has seven home runs against lefties. Kevin Smith also has a .901 OPS against lefties and should be watched.
Ryu vs. Colorado batters (regular season)
Aledmys Diaz 6 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout.
Tony Kemp: 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout.
Brent Rooker 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 RBI
Kevin Smith 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI.
Sears has lost 11 games this season, but it’s not his fault. Photo via AFPBBNews = News1
Forget the 11 losses
Oakland left-hander JP Sears, 27, is in his first year as a full-time big league starter. In 27 games and 146 2/3 innings pitched, he is 3-11 with a 4.60 ERA, 1.220 WHIP, 1.9 home runs, 2.4 walks and 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Despite his 11 losses, he pitches better than that. His 6.3% walk rate is 81% of the league, and his 30.6% ground ball rate is 70% of the league. His average fastball velocity (89 mph, 51%), swinging strike rate (25%, 42nd percentile), and strikeout rate (22.2%, 41st percentile) are all around league average. His hard hit rate (12.1%) is a bit high (3% percentile) and his ground ball induction rate (30.1%) is in the bottom 4% of the league. He has a 93-mph four-seam fastball (49.8%), an 81-mph sweeper (23.6%), an 83.9-mph changeup (14%), and an 82.1-mph slider (12.75). The slider is his least utilized pitch, but it’s also his most potent, with a .182 batting average.
He began his professional career with the Seattle Mariners in the 11th round of the 2017 draft. He has since been traded twice, first to the New York Yankees and then to his current team. Ahead of the 2022 trade deadline, the Athletics sent the Yankees two immediate starters in Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino in exchange for Luis Medina and Ken Waldichuck.