145km like 160km! Thanks to Ryu Hyun-jin, the ‘God of Speed’

45.2 kilometers. These are the iconic numbers that Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, the “Korean Monster” of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB), threw against the Texas Rangers on Sept. 13. He threw a 62.5-mile-per-hour (100.6 km/h) fastball to throw hitters off their timing and a 90.6-mile-per-hour (145.8 km/h) four-seam fastball to the corner of the strike zone to keep them off-balance. It’s no exaggeration to say he’s the God of Control.

Ryu took the loss in a crucial game. He couldn’t get his team to win against Texas, which is in the American League wild-card hunt. Still, praise is in order. He’s pitched well since returning to the big leagues after a year and two months away, and today was no different. Even though the team lost 3-6, it was his first big league quality start (6+ innings and 3 or fewer runs) in 480 days.

He threw a total of 82 pitches. He threw 59 pitches for strikes. He used a mix of 25 four-seam fastballs, 18 changeups, 18 cutters, 16 curves, and five sinkers. His fastball topped out at 90.6 miles per hour. In six innings, he allowed five hits, one home run, three runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. He finished the season with a 3-3 record and a 2.93 ERA.

He was not intimidated by the Texas offense. His four-seam fastball was particularly strong, with a slightly higher average velocity and a higher fastball. He added a cutter, changeup, curveball, and sinker to confuse hitters by varying their velocity. He showed a very low velocity curveball and targeted the corners of the strike zone with a four-seam fastball. He showed a style of play that is not easily accomplished by players with slower pitches. 

Cooked hitters with guts and patience. Slower, then slower, then suddenly faster. He kept his pace up and kept his opponents in a constant battle. He gave up home runs and long balls, but he was in control throughout. He had the magic of making his 145 mph four-seam fastball feel like a 160 mph fastball, and in fact, he had a zero-hitter on the day.먹튀검증

The fact that he went six innings on 82 pitches is impressive. With some protection from a long injury layoff, he’s been able to pitch economically and consistently go five innings or more. The question mark hanging over his resurgence is now a full exclamation point. He’s definitely gone from a late-inning hidden card to a starting reliever for Toronto.

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