Though it took longer than anticipated, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu finally made his 2018 Cactus League debut on Monday against the Colorado Rockies.
He logged 2.2 innings pitched in the contest, yielding four runs and four baserunners with two strikeouts. Ryu also allowed a home run in the contest and noticeably struggled with his command.
Of Ryu’s 56 pitches, only 30 of them were in the strike zone. After the game, he downplayed his lack of command and attributed it to his delivery acceleration, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
Ryu lost the precision of his pitches as his delivery accelerated, he explained. “That was the reason why I struggled, in terms of command,” Ryu said through interpreter Bryan Lee. “In terms of body condition, I feel fine.”
Given it was Ryu’s first start at the Major League level this spring, it’s understandable that he appeared rusty at times during the outing.
Earlier this month, Ryu made his lone other appearance in a simulated environment against a group of Minor Leaguers from the Chicago White Sox. He faced 11 batters and gave up just one run over 2.2 innings.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Ryu revealed that he will tinker with his curveball this spring and attempt to increase the spin rate on what was his most effective pitch from last season.
Last season, Ryu went 5-9 with a 3.77 ERA, 4.74 FIP and 1.37 WHIP in 25 games (24 starts). All things considered, it was a successful campaign as Ryu logged over 100 innings for the first time since 2014 coming off shoulder surgery and an elbow injury.