Hyun-Jin Ryu Wins First Start After three Weeks on the Disabled List

Howard Goldin

Unlike the overly lengthy (4 hours and 8 minutes) game of the previous night in which the batters on each team recorded double figures of base hits, Wednesday night’s contest was a pitcher’s duel between starters Hyun-Jin Ryu and Jacob deGrom in his second major league start.

Hyun-Jin Ryu made his first start since April 27. He was returning from a more than three week stint on the disabled list due to left shoulder inflammation that began on April 28.

Ryu pitched as effectively as if he had missed no time. He scattered five hits in the first five frames on the mound, and fanned two batters in each of the first four innings.

After the contest, Ryu, though his interpreter explained that he was faithful to his rehabilitation and listened to his coaches and thus felt ready. He said his fastball and slider were working and thinks some of the strikeouts came from each of those pitches.

It was only in the sixth inning that Met batters solved the riddle of how to hit his pitches successfully. David Wright led-off with a single, but was erased on a double play. With two out, Curtis Granderson singled and scored on Eric Campbell’s first major league home run. The four- bagger came in Campbell’s 15th at bat since being called up to the Mets. He was batting .500 (6 for 12) when the game began. Wilmer Flores continued the Mets hitting with a single, but Ryu ended the inning by fanning Anthony Recker.

Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly, no stranger to New York City, told reporters he and his coaches decided not to send Ryu out for the seventh, “After the single and then the home run, we made the decision he would not go out the next inning. We were looking for 90 [pitches].”

Mattingly expressed his respect, but not surprise at Ryu’s effectiveness after his lengthy absence from pitching, “He hadn’t thrown the ball in 12-14 days and he threw the ball where he wanted. He threw the ball well. He was sharp like we felt he would be. He throws the ball where he wants; changes speed. He’s always been that kind of guy.”

Although Ryu is only in his second year in the majors, he is quite experienced. The native of Korea pitched seven seasons in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) as a member of the Hanwha Eagles. He was an All-Star in each of those seven years. The 27 year-old also has international experience as a member of his national team. He was a gold medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a silver medalist in the 2009 World Baseball Classic (WBC).

The Dodgers only hit safely five times contrasted with 13 hits for the Mets, but Los Angeles made those hits count. Three of the five drove in runs. Adrian Gonzalez led off the second with his 12th home run of the year. Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez smacked back-to-back homers in the sixth.

Both starters left the game after six innings with the score 3-2 in favor of the Dodgers. Ryu got the win and deGrom the loss since each team scored one additional run after they left that did not affect the decision.

The highly motivated Dodger starter commented that he didn’t feel he was pulling his load and was glad to be back.

Mattingly is sending Zach Greinke to the mound in the final game on Thursday evening in the hope of a series sweep and Jonathon Niese is starting for the Mets.