Blue Jays’ Ryu, Cardinals’ Kim set to take mound on weekend

June 25, 2021

The two South Korean starters left standing in the majors will both make an appearance on the weekend — just not on the same day, as they’ve done three times already this month.

Kim Kwang-hyun of the St. Louis Cardinals will host the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium in St. Louis at 7:15 p.m. Friday local time, or 9:15 a.m. Saturday in Seoul.

The Toronto Blue Jays will send Ryu Hyun-jin to the hill when they host the Baltimore Orioles at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, at 3:07 p.m. Saturday, or 4:07 a.m. Sunday in South Korea.

The two lefties made starts on June 4, June 15 and last Sunday. They both lost the first time starting on the same day in 2021 and took no-decisions 11 days later. Last weekend, Ryu earned his sixth win of the season against the Orioles, while Kim took the loss against the Atlanta Braves.

Kim, 1-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 11 starts, will be pitching on four days’ rest as he takes on the Pirates for the first time this season.

Kim held the Braves to a run on three hits in four innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth. He only threw 47 pitches and should be back to full strength in this one, especially with lingering back problems behind him now.

The Pirates had the second worst record in the National League prior to Wednesday’s action at 26-46 and ranked second-to-last in the Senior Circuit with 254 runs scored. The Cardinals, 36-38, are nine games ahead of the Bucs.

Ryu, 6-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 14 starts, will try to beat the Orioles for the second straight start on five days’ rest. He kept them to a run on three hits in seven innings the last time out, the only damage coming from a solo home run by Trey Mancini in the first inning. Ryu didn’t allow a hit over his final five innings, as he ended a personal winless skid at three starts.

Ryu has been struggling to command his changeup, usually his bread-and-butter pitch, and has had to add some zip to his four-seam fastball and cutter to work his way through opposing lineups.

The Orioles are the worst team in the American League at 23-50. The Blue Jays are trying to stay in the Wild Card hunt at 36-35.