In what has been an overall dominate 2019 campaign at the forefront of the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation, Hyun-Jin Ryu uncharacteristically hit a bit of a rough patch to close out the month of August.
It started with a rough outing against the New York Yankees, where the left-hander allowed nine hits and seven runs in only 4.1 innings of work. He followed up that performance by again yielding seven runs in his very next start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After his latest blunder, Ryu took it upon himself to make a few adjustments in a recent bullpen session. “It was an adjustment and tweak with my arm slot,” he explained.
“It became lower in recent starts. I came to the realization and wanted to make some adjustments to make sure it wasn’t as low as it was.”
Looking to bounce back from arguably the worst stretch of his career, Ryu returned to the mound on Wednesday for his 26th start of the season against the Colorado Rockies.
Though he saw some progression, the 2019 All-Star was less than solid, allowing 10 baserunners and three runs in just 4.1 innings pitched. It was the fourth consecutive start in which Ryu failed to get past the sixth inning and he issued a season-high five walks.
“I was more conscious, especially early on in the game, but it wasn’t as crisp as I wanted it to be,” Ryu admitted. “Obviously I still have to make more adjustments and try to get back on track.”
Despite not being on top of his game, the Dodgers won their fourth consecutive contest, propelled by Joc Pederson’s two-home run showing. His latest effort allowed him to tie Larry Walker’s National League record of six consecutive extra-base hits.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts deemed some of Ryu’s pitches were better than others but there remains room for improvement as a whole. “I thought it was certainly better (than previous starts),” Roberts said.
“But I think that with Ryu, when he’s going well, he’s getting through at-bats quicker; whether it be by way of strike out or soft contact. It’s just command. I think there’s some good throws in there, some cutters that were good.
“In on the lefty, I thought he was just missing with his two-seamer, making some good throws there. His money maker is the changeup. When there’s contact it’s just a tick too high (in the strike zone).
“When you’re talking about big league hitters, a few inches is a big deal. There were some good ones in there, there were some good curveballs in there but I think overall with the command he’s off just a little bit.
Despite Ryu’s ongoing struggles, Roberts is confident the rough patch will soon be behind him. However, he would not commit to the 32-year-old making his next turn in the rotation.