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Ryu Hyun-jin, if he passes 70 pitches, his control shakes and he gets criticized… Is physical strength the problem? – Chosun Ilbo VRESP

Ryu Hyun-jin (37, Hanwha), who returned to the Korean professional baseball stage ahead of the 2024 season, is going through a difficult ‘adaptation period’. In the three games he started after his return, he suffered two losses without a win. He is receiving a lot of criticism as he gets into the mid to late stages of the game.

The KBO League match between Kiwoom and Hanwha held at Gocheok Sky Dome on the 5th. Ryu Hyun-jin gave up a comeback by allowing five consecutive hits. /Song Jeong-heon, Sports Chosun Reporter

Ryu Hyun-jin started in the away game against Kiwoom Heroes held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 5th and was hammered with 9 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, and 9 runs (9 earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He allowed seven consecutive hits, and his earned run average soared from 3.72 to 8.36. This is Ryu Hyun-jin’s KBO (Korea Baseball Organization) league record for the most runs and earned runs in a single game. Previously, the record for the most runs allowed and earned runs was 8 in the game against Samsung in Daejeon on July 18, 2012.

It is difficult to predict because it is early in the season, but he does not look like a pitcher who recorded an ERA in the 3-point range (3.46) in last year’s MLB (American Professional Baseball). Looking back at Ryu Hyun-jin’s last three games, there is something in common. The truth is that when a game gets into the mid to late stages and a certain number of pitches are passed, his control shakes and his position drops and he gets hit hard.

Currently, Ryu Hyun-jin has given up 23 hits in 3 games. He was hit 13 times by left-handed batters and 10 times by right-handed batters. Of these, he allowed 7 in the 1st to 3rd innings and 16 in the 4th to 6th innings, the mid to late game.

Ryu Hyun-jin pitched comfortably against LG in Seoul on the 23rd of last month before returning to the KBO League, allowing 2 runs with 2 outs in the 4th inning. However, he was beaten from the time he passed 70 pitches. At the time, he came off the mound after allowing three consecutive hits to Park Hae-min, Hong Chang-ki, and Kim Hyun-soo.

The 2024 KBO League Hanwha Eagles vs. Kiwoom Heroes match was held at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on the 5th. Hanwha Ryu Hyun-jin is fighting back. /Newsis

In the KT game held in Daejeon on the 29th of last month, Ryu Hyun-jin received 4 hits when the number of pitches exceeded 70 pitches. In the game against Kiwoom on the 5th, consecutive hits were allowed to a total of 7 batters, starting with Kim Jae-hyun in the 5th inning, and the first pitch thrown to Kim Jae-hyun was the 68th pitch thrown that day.

In the end, it is pointed out that it is a physical problem. Ryu Hyun-jin belatedly joined the spring camp by signing a contract with Hanwha on February 22nd for a contract period of 8 years and a total of 17 billion won (including opt-out, details of opt-out not disclosed upon agreement between both parties). There was inevitably not enough time to build his body.

Moreover, although there are fewer long hitters compared to the major leagues, the KBO league has many cross hitters who hit accurately with short, concise swings. Of the 23 hits allowed by Ryu Hyun-jin, a whopping 22 were singles. Ryu Hyun-jin is not a fastball pitcher. If even his control of the ‘technical school’ is shaken, it will inevitably become easier for him to be attacked.

Ryu Hyun-jin is also older now, and this is his first full season after Tommy John surgery. He returned to the mound in August of last year after undergoing left elbow ligament fusion surgery (Tommy John surgery) in June 2022. It is a time when change is required for him as he returns to the domestic stage after 10 years.


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