“I think it’s worth a try” “I need to do a thorough cornerwork” This is the “cold” reality Ryu Hyun-jin is facing

It is the hottest topic in the early days of the 2024 KBO season. By far, it is Ryu Hyun-jin and the Hanwha Eagles. When Ryu, who had commanded the U.S. Major League, declared his return to Korea in 12 years, the entire league shook. Hanwha, which was said to be the fifth round, was selected as the dark horse to win the title.퀸알바

With an investment of 17 billion won for eight years, Ryu’s actual effect was enormous. Although Ryu did not win the opening game against the LG Twins and the opening game at home against the KT Wiz, his juniors cheered up in the confidence that “we are the team that owns Ryu Hyun-jin.” After losing the opening game, Ryu’s seven consecutive wins came out naturally. “Hanwha has changed.”

Nightmare 5th inning. 8 hits allowed while one out. Ryu Hyun-jin allowed a large number of runs.
However, the Hanwha Eagles suffered its first consecutive loss at the match against the Kiwoom Heroes held at Gocheok Sky Dome on May 5 and 6. What was more shocking than the consecutive losses is that Ryu Hyun-jin, who started on May 5, had the worst pitching ever. He was originally scheduled to take the mound against the Lotte Giants on May 4, but he had good pitching given that he had to take another day off due to rain. In fact, he had perfect pitching until the fourth inning. However, the fifth inning was a nightmare. He had nine hits, two walks, two strikeouts, and nine runs in four ⅓ innings, humiliated by having timely hits and seven consecutive hits. He has now recorded the highest number of runs in a game in both KBO and MLB. The previous record was eight runs against the Samsung Lions on July 18, 2012. Ryu’s ERA for this season jumped to 8.46.

In fact, there were signs of the game. The game against LG was defeated, and the game against KT also gave up two runs in six innings, but it got as many as eight hits. KT’s batters just lost concentration. The patterns of games against KT and Kiwoom are similar. He is overwhelmed in the beginning, but if the number of pitches exceeds 60 to 70, he can hit critical hits. He will soon be 40 years old, and due to contract issues, he may not be able to fully prepare for the season. Ryu has just returned from elbow surgery.

There are hints about Ryu Hyun-jin’s future tasks in the words of Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho, who watches Ryu Hyun-jin closest, and Lee Hyung-jong, who directly faced Ryu Hyun-jin against Kiwoom.

“I have a lot of balls to concentrate on, so I allow a lot of balls to concentrate on,” Choi said. When asked if the number of pitches is decreasing due to the increase in the number of pitches, he added, “Coincidentally, the number of balls that are concentrated on the number of pitches has increased rapidly.”

Ryu threw a 150-km fastball against LG, but his ball control faltered. Then, KT and Kiwoom changed their game patterns to control and play management instead of reducing their ball speed. However, when their physical stamina declined, their sophistication disappeared. Choi said, “Ryu is not a so-called ‘ball’ pitcher. When other pitchers throw balls at the first pitch, they become shrunken and his ball control falters, but Ryu is not the type to do so. Even if the first pitch comes out, he needs to do a thorough cornerwork.” As time has passed, the interpretation is that if a head-on match is fought blindly, it could not be easy for Ryu to become a “low-minded” player.

Kiwoom Lee Hyung-jong met Ryu Hyun-jin and got two walks. The first batter Kim Seo-hyun faced after Ryu Hyun-jin went down was Lee Hyung-jong, who hit an RBI timely hit.

“In fact, I was a scaredy-catcher at first because I was a big pitcher,” Lee said. “I loved the actual breaking balls, including curves,” but added, “When I played against him twice, I thought, ‘This is something we can do. Personally, I was confident about being a left-handed pitcher.”

In other words, he is not ignoring Ryu, but his ball power is not a poor ball when he has faced him in person. With these samples accumulated, batters from other teams who will face Ryu in the future can play with confidence rather than feeling intimidated. What Hanwha expects from Ryu is not 15 or 20 wins, but to create a winning trend for his team when he takes the mound. He plays the role of an ace who connects consecutive wins and breaks consecutive losses. To do so, the opponent has to be afraid of Ryu.

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