Ryu vs. Ohtani set in tantalizing MLB duel

유지호 / 2022-05-25 14:58:30
  • facebookfacebook
  • twittertwitter
  • kakaokakao
  • pinterestpinterest
  • navernaver
  • bandband
  • -
  • +
  • print
MLB-pitchers
▲ In this Canadian Press photo via Associated Press from May 20, 2022, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the top of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Rogers Centre in Toronto. (Yonhap)

▲ In this Associated Press photo, Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels strikes out against the Texas Rangers during the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California, on May 24, 2022. (Yonhap)

▲ In this USA Today Sports photo via Reuters from May 18, 2022, Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Texas Rangers during the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. (Yonhap)

MLB-pitchers

Ryu vs. Ohtani set in tantalizing MLB duel

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- In one of the most anticipated pitching matchups of his major league career, the Toronto Blue Jays' South Korean starter Ryu Hyun-jin will take the mound against the Japanese two-way star for the Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani, this week.

The first pitch at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California, will be 6:38 p.m. Thursday (local time), or 10:38 a.m. Friday in South Korea.

This is not your average starting pitching matchup: on top of trying to battle Ryu pitch for pitch on the mound, Ohtani, the reigning American League (AL) MVP, will also step up to the plate against the left-hander as the Angels' designated hitter.

This will be the first meeting between the two big leaguers from the bitter sporting rival countries.

Ryu is rounding into form after two dismal starts to open the season and a stint on the injured list. He has limited opponents to a run in 10 2/3 innings in his past two starts, lowering his ERA from 13.50 to 6.00 in the process. He is 1-0 for the season.

Ohtani, the pitcher, is 3-2 with a 2.82 ERA. He has struck out 53 in 38 1/3 innings, for an impressive 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings. But the right-hander also leads the majors with six wild pitches.

Last year on the mound, Ohtani went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA, plus 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings. His strikeout rates are up and walk rates are down this season.

Ohtani, the batter, is batting .259/.315/.465 with nine home runs, 28 RBIs and six steals.

While these numbers are still solid for a full-time starting pitcher, Ohtani may not be able to match the offensive numbers from his MVP campaign, when he had 46 home runs, 100 RBIs, 26 steals and a major league-leading eight triples, along with a .257/.372/.592 line.

The Angels have jumped out to a 27-17 start, one game back of the Houston Astros for the top spot in the AL West. The Blue Jays, a trendy preseason pick to win the World Series, have been a disappointment at 23-20, seven games out of first place in the AL East, currently held by the New York Yankees.

The Blue Jays' offense has been sputtering. They're only 20th out of 30 clubs in the majors with an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .680 and have scored 158 runs in 43 games to rank 25th in that category. The Jays are also the worst-hitting team in baseball with runners in scoring position, sporting a .178 batting average and a .562 OPS.

The Angels have been one of the most potent offenses, led by the three-time MVP Mike Trout.

The Angels have the highest OPS with runners in scoring position at .867 and the second-best OPS overall with .749. They have scored more runs than any AL club with 212 and are second in the AL with 60 home runs.

Trout, coming off an injury-plagued 2021 season in which he was limited to 36 games, is back with a vengeance this season. Trout has already played 39 games this year and leads the majors with a 1.129 OPS. He is tied for second in the AL with 12 home runs, four more than he had last season.

Trout, however, has gone 0-for-10 with four strikeouts against Ryu. Among all major league pitchers who have had at least 10 at-bats against Trout, Ryu is the only one to have held the future Hall of Famer hitless.

(END)

(C) Yonhap News Agency. All Rights Reserved