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Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, and his four-year run with the Toronto Blue Jays has come to an end. Toronto has been eliminated from the postseason without a single win in fall baseball.
The Toronto Blue Jays fell 0-2 in Game 2 of the American League Wild Card Series of the 2023 Major League Baseball postseason against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA on Friday (May 5).
It was the second straight loss in the best-of-three wild-card series for Toronto, which was eliminated after falling 1-3 in Game 1 the previous day. Toronto also advanced to the Wild Card Series last season, but lost two straight games to the Seattle Mariners.
For Ryu Hyun-jin, it’s been a disappointing postseason.메이저사이트 Ryu was removed from the Wild Card Series roster, which was announced the day before, and will not play in fall baseball in 2023. Toronto has been using Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios as their starting rotation for the Wild Card Series, with Chris Bassett and Yusei Kikuchi also on the roster.
If Toronto won the Wild Card Series and advanced to the best-of-five division series and then the best-of-seven championship series, there was hope for Ryu. If the series went longer, Ryu’s utility value would be high enough. According to local media in the U.S., manager John Schneider also spoke to local reporters and conveyed the message that the team is preparing as normal for Ryu. With the manager leaving the door open for future use, there was still hope for a postseason run for Ryu, but the team lost two straight and Ryu was forced to pack his bags prematurely. At the same time, Ryu’s four-year run with Toronto came to an end.
Since signing a four-year, $80 million contract with Toronto in 2019, Ryu has appeared in 60 games, going 24-15 with a 3.97 ERA. After undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery (Tommy John surgery) last year, Ryu returned in August and had a successful season. He started 11 games this season, going 3-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 52 innings pitched. Although he didn’t have the same velocity he once had, he was once again at the top of his game with his refined delivery, command of his pitches, and ultra-slow curveball. The consensus is that Ryu is still good enough to compete in the major leagues. With his chances of staying in Toronto slim, Ryu will likely be evaluated on the free agent market this winter to see if he can stay in the majors.
The pitchers who started in place of Ryu in the Wild Card Series did not fare as well. Kevin Gausman, who started Game 1 of the Wild Card, was shaky, giving up three runs (three earned) on five hits and five walks in four innings. With just 73 pitches to go, Schneider turned to his bullpen, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide. Berrios, who started Game 2, was pulled early after just three innings. He was far from perfect, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits and five walks with one strikeout in three innings, and Schneider was just as quick on his feet as he was in Game 1, but couldn’t get Minnesota past him. Berrios had only thrown 47 pitches and was coming off a no-hitter. Kikuchi took over for Berrios in the second inning, but he gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk in 1⅔ innings.
The Blue Jays completed their starting lineup with George Springer (right field), Brandon Belt (designated hitter), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (first base), Bo Bichette (shortstop), Cavan Biggio (second base), Alejandro Kirk (catcher), Kevin Kiermaier (center field), Matt Chapman (third base), and Dalton Bashaw (left field). There were no changes from Game 1. Starting on the mound is Jose Berrios, who went 11-12 with a 3.65 ERA this regular season.
The Minnesota Twins countered with a starting lineup of Eduardo Julien (second base), Jorge Polanco (third base), Royce Lewis (designated hitter), Max Kepler (right field), Alex Kirillov (first base), Carlos Correa (shortstop), Matt Walner (left field), Ryan Jeffers (catcher), and Michael A. Taylor (center field). Compared to Game 1, the batting order of Walner at 7 and Jeffers at 8 were switched. The starting pitcher was Sonny Gray, who has been in great form this season with an 8-8 record and a 2.79 ERA.
Toronto missed a great scoring opportunity in the first inning. After Springer led off with a double down the left field line, Belt struck out and Guerrero flied out to right field to load the bases. Bissett followed with an infield single to put runners on first and second, but Biggio struck out looking on an eight-pitch count to end the threat. Minnesota got a run back in the bottom of the first when Polanco singled up the middle, but Lewis lined out to shortstop to end the inning.
In the second inning, Toronto had a golden opportunity. After a leadoff single to left by Kirk, Chapman drew a five-pitch walk one out later. Bashaw then laid down a sacrifice bunt in front of the pitcher to put runners on second and third with two outs. However, Springer was stranded again when he lined a single to straightaway right field. While the team was unable to score, Berrios was doing his job on the mound. In the bottom of the second, he got leadoff hitter Kepler to ground out to third and Kirillov to strike out swinging, then gave up an infield single to Correa but got Walner to fly out to first.
Neither team was able to score in the third inning. Toronto got on the board two batters later when Bissett singled to left, but Biggio followed with a six-pitch swinging strikeout to end the inning. In the bottom of the third, Berrios struck out Jeffers and Taylor before giving up a single to left to Julien, but got Polanco to fly out to end the inning.
The game-changer: A no-hitter is pulled after 47 pitches… Kikuchi comes in for a handshake
In the top of the fourth inning, the tide suddenly turned. With Toronto’s bottom of the order retired in order in the top of the fourth, Minnesota attacked in the bottom of the fourth. The leadoff hitter, Lewis, drew an eight-pitch walk and suddenly the Toronto bench was in motion. Toronto manager John Schneider himself came to the mound. He seemed to recognize this as a crucial moment. Schneider took the ball from Berrios and handed it to Kikuchi. It was a risky move, pulling the starter after 47 pitches for a no-hitter. But it proved to be a poison pill. As soon as Kikuchi took the mound, he gave up an infield single to Kepler to put runners on first and second with no outs. With Kirillov batting fifth, Minnesota pulled the trigger on a pinch-hitter, Solano, and it paid off. Solano calmly drew a seven-pitch walk to keep the bases loaded. The next batter, Correa, took two pitches on a 1-0 count and lined a double to left-center field, sending Target Field into a frenzy. The next batter, Castro, lined a single to shortstop, scoring Kepler from third and making the score 2-0. In a shortened game with all of the strong pitchers available, two runs early in the game was never going to be enough, and that would be the total for the night.
Toronto put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the next inning on Springer’s single to right and Guerrero Jr.’s walk two batters later. A wild pitch followed, putting runners on second and third with no outs, but Guerrero was thrown out at the plate. In the bottom of the fifth, Kikuchi gave up a single to left-center to Polanco two batters later before turning the mound over to Garcia. Garcia struck out Lewis to end the fifth.
Toronto continued to create chances. In the top of the sixth, one out later, Biggio and Kirk hit back-to-back singles to right to put runners on first and second. Here, the Minnesota pitching staff switched from Balland to Tilba. Toronto also pulled the trigger, bringing in Espinal for Kiermeyer. An infield single by Espinal in the first inning gave Toronto a chance to load the bases. However, Chapman hit an infield single in front of the shortstop, ending Thiago’s chance to tie the game. While the bats weren’t clicking, the Toronto bullpen was not giving up any more runs. In the bottom of the sixth, they gave up a walk to Solano with one out, but retired the next two batters.
Heading into the top of the seventh, the game was headed for the late innings. Toronto retired Bashaw, Springer, and Belt in order in the top of the seventh. Minnesota loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh when Jeffers drew a leadoff walk and two batters later Polanco drew a straight-up walk to put runners on first and second. The pitcher changed from Swanson to Romano. However, they were unable to capitalize as Lewis grounded out to third base.
Toronto was unable to mount a comeback in the top of the eighth. The cleanup trio all walked to load the bases. Guerrero Jr. flied out to center field, while Bissett and Biggio grounded out to shortstop and in front of the pitcher, respectively. In the bottom of the eighth, Minnesota loaded the bases two batters later when Correa led off with a walk and moved to third on Castro’s single up the middle, but Jeffers retired the side on a fly ball to right field to end the inning. Then came Toronto’s final offense in the top of the ninth. After a leadoff walk to Kirk, Espinal led off with a single up the middle. But Chapman struck out on three pitches, and the next batter, Basho, struck out on three pitches to end Toronto’s fall baseball run.
In addition to Berrios and Kikuchi, Toronto got 1 1/3 innings of no-hit, three-strikeout ball from Garcia, ⅔ innings of no-hit, one-strikeout ball from Swanson, and 1 1/3 innings of no-hit, one-strikeout ball from Romano. For the offense, which totaled nine hits, Springer was joined by Bissett, Kirk and Espinal in multi-hit efforts.
Minnesota’s bullpen secured the win behind Gray, who tossed five innings of five-hit ball with two walks and six strikeouts. Balland pitched ⅓ of an inning of two-hit ball with one strikeout, Tilba pitched ⅔ of an inning of one-hit ball, Stewart pitched one inning of two-hit ball, Jacks pitched a perfect inning, and Duran pitched one inning of one-hit ball with three strikeouts to earn the save. The offense had seven hits, two fewer than Toronto, but their focus shone through. Polanco and Correa led the way with multi-hit performances. With a total attendance of 38,518, Minnesota’s home fans enjoyed the fall festivities with their players. Minnesota now heads into the Division Series against the Houston Astros, who won the American League West with a 90-72 record.