Similar to Cody Bellinger’s historic start at the plate, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu is in the midst of an unbelievable stretch himself, albeit on the mound.
The 32-year-old was virtually unhittable in May and took home National League Pitcher of the Month honors for his efforts. In six starts during the span, he went 5-0 with a minuscule 0.59 ERA and 0.68 WHIP over 45.2 innings pitched, limiting opposing batters to a .177/.191/.222 slash line.
Ryu closed out the month with a dominating start against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium. He tossed 7.2 scoreless innings, yielding only four hits and one walk while accumulating seven strikeouts.
The southpaw had all of his pitches working and specifically pointed out his changeup is what stood out the most. He explained that he was able to command it at all points in the contest and generated a multitude of swings-and-misses as a result.
Watching from afar was Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, who praised Ryu’s pitch selection and execution in his outing against the Mets. Friedman additionally deemed that Ryu’s early-season performance thus far has been Cy Young-worthy, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“He’s just sitting in a rocking chair and pitching. I mean, it’s incredible to watch. Just the feel. First pitch [against the New York Mets], threw a breaking ball. He’s just like look, I’m going to mix all my pitches, mix location and keep the hitters off balance. His feel to execute different pitches in different spots is elite. He’s combining that with more awareness of hitters’ weaknesses and attacking those more. What we’re seeing is Cy Young level performance to this point.”
Ryu’s start against the Mets was his fourth this season in which he did not allow a run. He has not yielded more than two runs in any of his 11 appearances.
In 11 starts this season, Ryu leads the Majors in wins (eight), ERA (1.48), shutouts (one), ERA+ (282), WHIP (0.81), walks per nine innings (0.6) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (13.8).
Though his 2018 campaign was hindered by a severe groin injury, Ryu showed signs of breaking out last season when he pitched to a 1.97 ERA in 15 regular season starts. Maintaining his health this year, he is continuing to pitch at an elite level with a larger sample size.