Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto) was faced with one change in the final game of the series against Oakland at the Oakland Coliseum in California, U.S., on Sunday (July 7). He was unable to receive the ball due to an injury to catcher Danny Jansen, who had been working with Ryu.
Since making his major league debut in 2013, Ryu has worked with a total of 13 different catchers over the course of his 10 seasons. The catcher with whom he has played the most innings is A.J. Ellis, his former teammate in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Ellis and Ryu played 245 innings together in 41 games. Next is Danny Jansen, who became the team’s starting catcher after the trade to Toronto. Jansen also played 215⅓ innings in 41 games.
They say the quill doesn’t smudge the paint, but pitchers and catchers have to work together like a battery. In fact, any catcher knows the strengths and weaknesses of opposing hitters well enough to be able to analyze them. However, reading a pitcher’s strengths, weaknesses, and mental state takes some experience, and sometimes even knowing what pitch the pitcher wants to throw in the situation.
Taylor Heinemann made his first start with Hyun-Jin Ryu on the seventh, and it seemed like Toronto was intentionally matching Jansen with Ryu’s starts. Of course, Jansen is the starting catcher, but there have been several instances where the team has rested him the day before his start. The chemistry between Heinemann and Ryu was also a big part of the game. With Jansen out for the foreseeable future, this could have implications for the schedule going forward.
Ryu threw 77 pitches in five innings, allowing five hits (one home run), one walk, five strikeouts, and two runs. All in all, it wasn’t a bad performance. Heinemann did his best with his framing and more. Even though he didn’t get any run support and took the loss, Ryu didn’t complain too much about his performance after the game. Heinemann had no complaints either.
There was a point where the catcher could be faulted. He gave up a two-run homer to Perez in the fourth inning with a 1-0 lead and allowed three stolen bases on the day. However, the crew from Sportsnet, the Canadian sports network and Toronto’s host broadcaster, felt that the catcher did his job. The overall result of the day was not bad, and it is difficult to say that Heine was the only one who was disappointed with the details.
Ryu was nearly perfect until the third inning. His four-seam fastball wasn’t back to its best, but he was able to capitalize on the difference in velocity between the pitches. Oakland fielded a lot of right-handed batters on this day, but it didn’t matter to Ryu. His changeup was well outside the zone, and he mixed in his curveball and fastball to keep Oakland hitters off balance.
Oakland batters seemed to come in with the intention of looking for a curveball or a four-seam. But Ryu overcame this with his velocity advantage. A 100 mph curveball, followed by a 145 mph fastball, froze the batters in their tracks. That’s how he got those strikeouts. It was a tough pitch to read for the young, athletic, but still inexperienced Oakland hitters.
However, he faltered in the fourth inning after giving up a leadoff double to Rooker. It was unfortunate because he got 2S first. His five-pitch changeup from 2B-2S was right on the borderline, but Rooker’s bat caught it. “He made a good pitch,” Sportsnet commentator Joe Sears said of the situation. He distracted with his body and low, and then he threw a changeup as his final pitch, and it was a hard hit on a pitch that was a little off.
Two batters later, Perez’s home run came on a 1B-2S pitch. After dropping a curveball at 1B-2S and waving it away, Ryu threw a fastball toward the body, which Perez took well and smashed over the left field wall.
Sears showed both a low curveball and an outside changeup in this situation, so it was a reasonable call for Heinemann to go for the fastball. However, Sears said it was “a little further down in the zone than Heinemann was asking for.” Rather, it meant that it was in Perez’s hitting zone. It wasn’t the catcher’s fault, the pitcher threw the ball in the zone. Ryu said after the game, “It wasn’t a bad pitch,” and he didn’t take it personally.
“Well, Ryu kept most of Oakland’s hitters off-balance today,” Siddle said, “but I’m sure he’ll want to take back that one pitch to Carlos Perez, and that one pitch changed the outcome of the day.”스포츠토토
As for the three stolen bases, the Sportsnet commentators concluded that the runners did a good job and it wasn’t the catcher’s fault. In the case of Esterly Lewis, who stole his 57th and 58th bases of the season, the commentators called it a “big lead, good jump” situation. In reality, Lewis had a very long lead and was too fast to be caught. “Heinemann did everything he could as a catcher, but it wasn’t to be,” Siddle said. If anything, it was a good sign for the next game.