- Created on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 04:14
In the sixth inning of his greatly anticipated major league debut, Hyun-Jin Ryu was booed at home after he loafed to first base on a groundout.
That summed up Tuesday night for the most celebrated pitcher to come from Korea in more than 20 years: not great, not awful, but oddly memorable and – above all – quite promising.
Statistically speaking, the results were mixed: Ryu allowed 10 hits but only one earned run in 6 1/3 innings, thanks to three well-timed double plays. A skeptic would say Ryu was lucky to escape trouble so often. I, for one, think the left-hander showed Buehrle-esque savvy despite lacking an effective curveball.
“A guy that knows what he’s doing,” manager Don Mattingly said, in a tone that suggested he will be able to trust Ryu without necessarily understanding his methods.
We should be careful not to draw too many conclusions from one start, but the Dodgers can take heart in one undeniable truth: Ryu isn’t in awe of his new competition – not even the defending World Series champions from San Francisco.
“I told him I was proud of him, and I love the way he threw the ball tonight,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis recalled, when asked about his conversation with Ryu after he exited the game. “To me, the greatest thing about Ryu is nothing overwhelms him. [Pitching coach] Rick Honeycutt and I were talking about how some guys get intimidated by the fifth deck when you come into a major league stadium. This guy’s pitched in the WBC. He’s pitched in the Olympics. He never seems like he’s stressed.
“One thing I have to keep reminding myself and keep reminding guys is that this guy was the greatest player in his entire country. That’s something nobody over here can say, outside of maybe the guy who pitched yesterday for us [Clayton Kershaw]. He’s really special. And he’s going to have a great major league career. I’m just happy to say I was at the start of it.”
It was almost exactly one year ago – April 9, 2012 – that another pitcher made his major league debut after a distinguished career in Asia: Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish.
On one level, Ryu and Darvish are dissimilar pitchers: Ryu is a Korean left-hander, Darvish a Japanese right-hander. But while South Korea and Japan are very different places, players – especially pitchers – from those countries must make similar adjustments when they come to the U.S. The culture, the language, the pitching schedule, the mounds, the ballparks – even the baseballs are different.
Before Tuesday, Ryu’s last appearance at Dodger Stadium came against Darvish and Team Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In fact, Ryu and the Dodgers should be encouraged by the fact that Darvish came within one out of a perfect game in Houston on Tuesday night.
Darvish’s first start for the Rangers last April was unsettling: five earned runs and four walks in 5-2/3 innings. He nibbled that night against the woeful Seattle Mariners. With Ryu, there was none of that Tuesday. He didn’t walk a single batter.
Darvish overcame his nerves last year, made the All-Star team, logged 198 innings including the postseason and is now a popular pick to win the American League Cy Young Award. If Ryu adapts to the major leagues as well as Darvish has, the Dodgers will be satisfied with their investment of more than $60 million.
For the record, Ryu learned of Darvish’s bid for perfection after he left the game. When asked about the Darvish comparison, Ryu said through interpreter Martin Kim, “I, as well, plan on adjusting to Major League Baseball. I’ve been here three months. So, I think it will be OK.”
Now, as for the baserunning blunder …
With one out in the home sixth, Ryu sent a slow roller to Pablo Sandoval at third base. And Ryu ran even sssslllllooooowwweeerrrr. He wasn’t injured. Ryu explained later that he figured he was going to be thrown out and wanted to conserve energy.
Donnie Baseball didn’t approve and plans to have a conversation with Ryu about it. “He’s slow – but he can’t be that slow,” Mattingly said. “That might be one thing we have to talk about. I’m not sure if he understands it.”
Having been booed, he does now.
At his postgame news conference – attended by roughly 50 members of the Korean media – Ryu was contrite about his lack of hustle. He called the boos “embarrassing.”
“That was actually my mistake,” Ryu said. “Now I know I have to run a lot harder. But as soon as I hit the ball, it wasn’t a well-hit ball. At that time, when I was running, I felt I should have conserved energy just so I could continue pitching. But I learned my lesson. I understand it’s not a good thing. I will try harder next time.”
Ryu doesn’t seem like the type to make the same mistake twice. He realizes the magnitude of his place in the major leagues, as the first player to move directly from Korea Professional Baseball to MLB. The historic nature of Ryu’s arrival was underscored by the fact that Ellis was instructed to toss the ball used for his first pitch into the dugout for preservation. “I don’t know where that ball is headed,” Ellis said. “It’s probably safeguarded by three armed guards right now in a metallic case like a nuclear football.”
In time, the newness will wear off. Ryu will learn some English. Ellis will learn some Korean. Then it will be about pitching, which is a good thing. That’s what Hyun-Jin Ryu came here to do.
- Hampden officials say they are working hard to economic development
- Killer mom appeals murder sentence
- Governor withdraws nominess for Education Committee
- A Waterville man is accused of carrying out a terrifying crime
- Officials warn people to leave seal pups alone
- Pulse Marketing holds first web marketing seminar in Bangor
- Evening of romance at BSO Valentine's concert
- DOE looking for summer food program sponsors
- Huge alumni gift for Bates College
- Kennebec County Jail is preparing for major renovations
- Don McLean pleads not guilty
- Tractor trailer accident closes 202
- Chess Tables Coming to Brewer Waterfront
- Rockland man arrested on child porn charges
- Man involved in two high speed chases last week is in custody
- Governor submits state of the state in writing
- Driver allegedly was drinking at time of crash
- Man involved in standoff in court Monday
- Trump, Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, Bush: What NH results mean to the still-alive five
- Matt Lauer asks Katie Holmes about his interview with Tom Cruise
- Mayim Bialik flashes Piers Morgan two times on TV
- Texas nanny allegedly held hostage at home, forced to work 20-hour shifts
- Washington medical director resigns, blasts fire department in outgoing letter
- American World War II veteran reunites with wartime girlfriend in Australia
- Trump, Sanders win New Hampshire -- and 2016 battle moves south
- Trump, Sanders win New Hampshire -- and 2016 battle moves south, west
- Sanders, Trump and more. Fasten your seatbelt, America, this is gonna be one helluva ride
- Trump pulls off huge win, but Kasich will be the media darling
- Independents breaking for Trump in NH GOP primary, exit polls show
- Tight race for 2nd, 3rd in Republican New Hampshire primary
- Trump wins, Kasich takes 2nd in GOP New Hampshire primary, Fox News projects
- Trump, Sanders win NH primary – and the battle heads South
- Supreme Court puts Obama's power plant regs on hold
- Exit polls: Late deciders breaking for Trump, Kasich in NH GOP race
- Black Lives Matter activist kills self outside Ohio Statehouse, police say
- Report: DMX almost dies from drug overdose
- 'White guilt' video shown to high school students irks community
- The dangerous business of ship salvage
- Virginia teen stabbed to death had talked about running away with suspect
- Caught on video: British man trips suspect running from police
- $220,000 Oscar swag bag includes sex toys, breast enhancements, Chapstick
- Teresa Giudice reveals she attended parties, used ‘spa services’ in prison
- 'Frozen' Musical To Make Broadway Debut In 2018
- DMX Has Recovered After Being Resuscitated By Police, Attorney Says
- Kelly Clarkson Releasing Children's Book Named For Daughter River Rose
- Megan Fox Is New 'New Girl,' Filling In For Zooey Deschanel
- Bryan Fuller Named Co-Creator, Showrunner Of CBS' 'Star Trek'
- Ken Watanabe Battling Stomach Cancer, Delays Broadway Return
- First 'Fuller House' Trailer Debuts: 'Damn, We All Still Look Good!'
- 'The Flash': Danielle Panabaker Talks Killer Frost, Deathstorm & Zoom
- Taylor Swift Leads iHeartRadio Award Nominations
- Michael Douglas Among Those Honored By AARP
- Beyonce's Super Bowl Show Bringing Both Praise & Criticism
- Maroon 5 Thanks Taraji P. Henson For Mistaken Super Bowl Shout-Out
- Maroon 5 'Thanks' Taraji P. Henson After Mistaken Super Bowl Shout-Out
- Super Bowl Draws 111.9 Million Viewers, Down From Last Year
- 'The Good Wife' Bosses Talk Ending The Show, Spinoff Potential
- Gwyneth Paltrow Testifies In Stalking Trial, Says Man's Letters Were Upsetting
- Conan O'Brien Heading To Harvard To Give Talk
- 'Monsters, Inc.' & 'Big Hero 6' Screenwriter Daniel Gerson Dies At 49
- Flavor Flav Pleads No Contest To DUI Charge In Las Vegas
- Porn Actress Drops $500K Lawsuit Against Josh Duggar
- 'The Good Wife': CBS Announces Final Nine Episodes
- Beyonce Announces 2016 Tour
- Flavor Flav Due To Face Las Vegas Judge On Misdemeanor Case
- Here Come The Super Bowl 50 Ads
- Tom Brady boasts that he is not one of the best QBs ever
- Peyton Manning's mom explains why it's time for her son to retire
- Report: Off-duty cops hospitalized after alleged altercation involving LeSean McCoy
- Advanced stats will probably love Michigan in 2016
- Audi tearjerker, 'Puppymonkeybaby' among Super Bowl winners
- Offbeat humor and upbeat messages dominate Super Bowl ads
- Breaking news: NASCAR to announce new 'charter' system for teams
- 2nd-seeded Cilic and Dodig advance to 2nd round in Rotterdam
- Jordan Spieth honors Peyton Manning with classic forehead joke after Super Bowl win
- Mets give cap-tip to fellow runner-up Panthers after Super Bowl loss
- Cam Newton's authenticity is highly questionable
- 2016 New York Mets Preview & Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep
- All-Star Bobblehead Series among Marlins promotions in 2016
- Broncos offseason to-do list, starting with moving on from Manning
- Cam Newton's image took the biggest hit of all during the Super Bowl
- Dodgers' Pederson had a great view of Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show
- Paul George says he'll try to score 82 points in final game vs. Kobe
- From behind the lens at Super Bowl 50, Durant captures the other side
- DeMarcus Ware's son stole Deion Sanders' microphone after the Super Bowl
- Comfort wins: Stroman, Blue Jays watch Super Bowl 50 in onesies
- Parker to play with France despite wife's pregnancy
- Ronaldo open to leaving Real Madrid when contract expires
- Tyronn Lue on recent criticism: 'Look, they ridiculed Jesus Christ'
- Bryce Harper shared a laugh with Stephen Curry at Super Bowl 50