Dodgers’ Ryu Hyun-jin can’t get over two-out hump vs. Red Sox in World Series

October 25, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) — As the first South Korean starter in a World Series game, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers came within a strikeout of qualifying for a win against the Boston Red Sox.

But the left-hander couldn’t get over that hump and ended up taking the loss in the Red Sox’s 4-2 victory on an otherwise historic night for himself at Fenway Park in Boston on Wednesday (local time).

Ryu took the mound in Game 2 for his first career World Series start. Two other South Koreans, Kim Byung-hyun with the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks and Park Chan-ho with the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies, have pitched in a World Series, but they both did it out of the bullpen.

In this Getty Images photo, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after walking Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park in Boston on Oct. 24, 2018. (Yonhap)

In this Getty Images photo, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after walking Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox in the bottom of the fifth inning of Game 2 of the World Series at Fenway Park in Boston on Oct. 24, 2018. (Yonhap)

After a three-up, three-down first inning, Ryu gave up his first run in the second. But the Dodgers went ahead with two runs in the top of the fourth, and Ryu took a 2-1 lead into the fifth inning.

He got two quick outs but gave up a single to No. 9 hitter Christian Vazquez. That set the stage for the top of the vaunted lineup, with Mookie Betts, the likely American League MVP, getting a single and Andrew Benintendi drawing a walk after an eight-pitch battle to load the bases.

That spelled the end of Ryu’s night. Ryan Madson came on and allowed all three of Ryu’s runners to cross the plate, as the Red Sox took a 4-2 lead and hung on to win by the same score.

Against Vazquez, Ryu got a called strike on a first-pitch curve that caught the bottom of the zone. Then at the 0-2 count, he threw a fastball that just missed on the inside corner. The pitch was so close that Ryu started walking toward the dugout, thinking his inning was over.

Vazquez hit a cutter for a single on the next pitch to keep the inning alive. Ryu then left another cutter out over the plate against Betts, who lined it up the middle.

Benintendi went down swinging on a curve in the first inning and lined out to center on the same pitch in the third inning.

And Ryu gave Benintendi a steady dose of curves in the fifth. At 2-1, he threw one for a strike to even the count. After a fastball missed the spot, Ryu threw two straight curves that Benintendi fouled off. For his eighth pitch of the at-bat, Ryu threw a four-seam fastball that missed down and away from the left-handed hitter.

That was the only walk that Ryu issued in the game, coming on the last pitch he threw.

This was Ryu’s fourth start this postseason and third on the road. He has yet to complete five innings in those road appearances.

In two road starts against the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series, Ryu gave up seven runs in 7 1/3 innings combined.

A day after the Red Sox got the better of Clayton Kershaw’s sliders, Ryu relied on curveballs to get his outs. Three of his five strikeouts came on that pitch.

Of his 69 pitches, 26 were four-seam fastballs and 18 were curveballs, followed by 17 cutters, four two-seam fastballs, three changeups and one slider.

The Sox have been lethal with two outs so far in the series. In their 8-4 victory in Game 1, five runs came with two outs. All four runs in Game 2 came after two outs were recorded.

And Ryu too fell victim to the relentless bats.

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