Two starting pitchers cried and laughed at the same umpire’s ball call. Hyun-jin Ryu (Toronto Blue Jays) held on, and Chris Flexen (Colorado Rockies) fell apart.
Toronto extended its winning streak to two games with a 13-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, USA. They are now 74-61 on the season. Colorado, which has lost four straight, is 49-85.
On the mound, Hyun-jin Ryu went five innings, allowing one run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. With his fourth straight five-inning start, his season ERA rose slightly from 2.25 to 2.48. Colorado starter Flexen, on the other hand, struggled, allowing four runs on seven hits (three homers) and one walk in 5⅔ innings. The game was a back-and-forth affair as the teams traded runs after the sixth inning, and while both players left without a win, it was a perfect “no-decision” for Ryu.
Ryu’s opponent, Flexen, is no stranger to Korean fans, having played in the KBO in 2020 for the Doosan Bears.
He excelled in fall baseball, leading the team to the Korean Series. After returning to the big leagues the following year, he became a “KBO reverse export success story,” winning 14 games with the Seattle Mariners, but he began a downward spiral last year and has continued to struggle this year.
However, Flexen didn’t have a bad start to the game, as he retired the side in order in the first inning on just six pitches, then continued his scoreless streak through the second and third innings. Hyun-jin Ryu, on the other hand, pitched two consecutive scoreless innings before a two-run single by Elefuris Montero in the bottom of the third put an end to his momentum. Unlike the previous innings, his pitches were starting to falter, and the Toronto bench was on edge.
There was also the threat of more runs. In the bottom of the fourth, Ryu was shaken up by a Hunter Goodman leadoff single, but he chose a six-pitch fastball on a full count against Nolan Jones. He threw it high and tried to get a strike, but umpire Angel Hernandez’s hand didn’t go up and Goodman walked to first base.
Even if the pitch had been high, it would have been a strike. According to a graphic on MLB.com’s Gameday, the official website of Major League Baseball, Ryu’s six-pitch fastball was not just in the strike zone, but completely in the zone. The look on Ryu’s face as he watched the call was one of disappointment. Hernandez, one of the worst umpires in the United States, was in full force.
However, Ryu was unperturbed. Against Montero, who had allowed a home run in the first meeting, he induced a grounder to first and second and a double play of second baseman Whit Merrifield, shortstop Ernie Clement and first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to end the inning.
After getting out of the jam, Ryu quickly loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth by getting leadoff hitter Doyle to fly out to shortstop on one pitch and then getting Blackmon, who had been pestering Ryu, to ground out to second base. He shut down the Colorado bats for the second straight inning, getting Tova to fly out to center field on four pitches, and then ended the fifth inning on his own.
A similar situation awaited Flexen in the top of the sixth, when a 5-pitch cut fastball to Danny Jansen on a 2-2 count at first base turned into a ball and a full count. With a full count, Flexen’s six-pitch fastball became a wild pitch, and Jansen took it for a home run.
Flexen, who had survived a single in the top of the fourth and a walk in the top of the fifth, was broken up by a balk and a two-run walk, and was forced to turn the mound over to Gavin Hallowell after a Merrifield grounder and a Dolton Bashaw single. Jones’ three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth saved him from the loss, but he couldn’t get through six innings.먹튀검증
Of course, the two calls in this game didn’t have much of an impact on the outcome, but Ryu’s ability to show a different side of himself in the face of unfavorable calls proved his ‘ace’ credentials.