The “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin (36-Toronto Blue Jays-photo) will try to win his fourth game of the season against the weakest team in Major League Baseball (MLB).
Ryu will take the mound against the Oakland Athletics at 4:37 a.m. on July 7 at Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California, USA.
Since returning to the major leagues for the first time in 14 months on March 2 against the Baltimore Orioles, Hyun-jin Ryu has pitched well in every game. He has gone five innings in each game, except for his second start in Cleveland, when he was hit in the leg by a pitch and had to leave after four innings. His record on the season is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA. His metrics are also excellent, with a .213 batting average and a 1.03 walks allowed per inning (WHIP).
Oakland is a great opponent for a four-win season. One of the poorest clubs in all of MLB, the A’s have sold off all of their top players in recent years in favor of a prospect-heavy roster. As a result, through five days, the A’s are the worst team in baseball with a 42-96 record and a .304 winning percentage, the worst of all 30 major league teams.
The team’s offense is also the weakest of the 30 teams, with a team batting average of .224, the worst in MLB, and a team OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of .672. With only two batters reaching base in regulation, this is a team that is trying out players here and there. For Ryu, who has yet to pitch more than six innings since his return, this is a great matchup for him to get his first quality start (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less).
One hitter to keep an eye on is outfielder Brent Rooker, who is one of the few hitters who has gotten regular at-bats. He’s not very accurate with a .242 batting average, but he’s got some power with 23 home runs. His 0.838 OPS against lefties is higher than his season mark (0.792), so be wary. Ryan Noda also has a smaller sample size, but he has five home runs, 13 RBIs, and a .978 OPS against lefties.
Oakland will start with left-hander JP Sears. Sears is the only Oakland pitcher to start the entire season in the starting rotation and complete a full season’s worth of innings. His record this season is 3-11 with a 4.60 ERA. He’s two or three levels below Ryu.
Toronto is currently battling the Texas Rangers for the third wild card spot. On May 5, Toronto beat Oakland 6-5, while Texas lost to Houston 6-13 to cut the gap to 0.5 games.
It will be interesting to see if Hyun-jin Ryu, the “eldest” member of Toronto’s starting rotation, can help the Jays defeat Oakland and clinch the third wild-card spot 먹튀검증.