For the second time in three years, the Los Angeles Dodgers reached the century mark in wins, as they picked up their 100th of the regular season in Sunday’s 7-4 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium.
Hyun-Jin Ryu continued his recent surge on the mound, yielding just three runs on six hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings of work. He was also an unlikely contributor on the offensive side, slugging his first career home run in the fifth that allowed the Dodgers to even up the score.
Ryu most impressively hit his game-tying blast on an 0-2 count. The ball left his bat at an exit velocity of 101 mph and traveled an estimated 389 feet, according to MLB’s Statcast.
“I wasn’t particularly thinking about my launch angle, especially with two strikes,” Ryu said through a translator. “My goal was to not give up an out. I’m just thankful it was a day game, because if it was a night game I’m pretty sure it would’ve been caught.
“I would argue it was the most crucial part of this game, to tie the game with my home run. Thankfully our team was able to take the lead in the same inning. I was glad I was the one that started the hitting.”
The Dodgers dugout understandably erupted in excitement for Ryu, who entered the day batting just .130 on the year. The home run additionally marked only his second extra-base hit in 2019 and the 10th of his career.
“There were chants from the dugout, ‘Babe Ryu,'” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts noted. “It was Little League: pitch and hit a game-tying homer.
“The homer was big, obviously, but just the way he threw the baseball was back to what you expect from Hyun-Jin. His entire mix was good.”
Ryu, though, hardly showed any emotion as he rounded the bases. “I wanted to maintain my poker face because there were more innings I had to pitch. My teammates told me how I have some pop in my bat,” he said.
After uncharacteristically struggling for the bulk of August, Ryu has bounced back to find success in the final month of the regular season. In three September outings, he has compiled a 1-0 record with a 2.95 ERA and 0.98 WHIP across 18.1 innings pitched.
Ryu for the season owns a 13-5 record, National League-best 2.41 ERA, 3.18 FIP and 1.02 WHIP with 156 strikeouts against 24 walks in 175.2 innings pitched (28 games).
The 2019 NL Cy Young Award candidate will likely receive one final tuneup start before leading the Dodgers starting rotation into the postseason.