The Toronto Blue Jays overcame 2-1 odds to earn the third wild-card spot in the postseason. However, the “Korean Monster” Ryu Hyun-jin, 36, is unlikely to be given a starting spot in the postseason. Local media outlets are reporting that the Blue Jays will likely not utilize Ryu, who has been a starter for his entire career, as a bullpen arm.
Ryu’s team, Toronto, lost 8-12 to Tampa Bay in the final game of the 2023 American League playoffs on Sunday (Nov. 2). With a season record of 89-73, Toronto clinched the third wild-card spot in the postseason behind Tampa Bay, which had a 99-63 record, and the Texas Rangers, which had a 90-72 record.
As the third wild card, Toronto will host the best-of-three wild card series against the Minnesota Twins (87-75), winners of the Central Division, the least likely of the American League’s three division winners.
The best-of-three wild-card series requires three starting pitchers. The best-of-five Division Series (DS) will require three or four starters. Depending on each team’s starting rotation, a team with a weak No. 4 will use a three-man rotation with the No. 1 and No. 2 starting twice, while a team with a strong No. 4 will use a four-man rotation with the No. 1 starting Game 5.
In projecting Toronto’s postseason starting rotation, mlb.com left Hyun-jin Ryu’s name off the list. Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassett, Jose Berrios, and Yusei Kikuchi are expected to round out the starting rotation. The bullpen is also projected to have eight specialty relievers, including Jordan Romano in the closer’s role, Eric Swanson, Yimi Garcia, Jordan Hicks, Tim Mazaya, Genesis Cabrera, Chad Green, and Trevor Richards. While Hyun-Jin Ryu could serve as a long man, the team is unlikely to utilize him in the bullpen, as he has been a starter his entire career.
“It’s hard to envision any role for a fifth starter on Toronto’s roster,” MLB.com wrote.
Since returning to the big leagues on Aug. 2 against the Baltimore Orioles after a 14-month rehabilitation process following left elbow ligament reconstruction surgery last June, Ryu has appeared in 11 games this season, throwing 52 innings. He has posted a respectable 3-3 record with a 3.46 ERA, but with Gausman, Bassett, Berrios, and Kikuchi already playing full-time, it’s hard for the small sample size to squeeze in between them.
The fact that the Toronto coaching staff switched the starting order between Ryu, who was originally scheduled to start on March 30, and Kikuchi, who was scheduled to start on March 1, suggests that they have more confidence in Kikuchi, who has played a full season, than Ryu.
The fourth starter will be utilized as a bullpen arm in the Wild Card Series. With Gaussman, Bassett, and Berrios in the rotation, the expectation is that Kikuchi will be the long man, throwing two or more innings depending on the game. “He’s a really good pitcher,” Toronto manager John Schneider said. We can use him in a lot of different ways in the postseason.”바카라사이트
It’s also bad news for Ryu that Toronto’s bullpen is one of the best in the majors in terms of quality and quantity. There are plenty of pitchers who can fill the long-man role that Ryu can handle. Trevor Richards is an innings-eating reliever who is often used as a substitute starter, and Chad Green is another option.
The local media’s assessment reflects the view that Hyun-jin Ryu, who has only been a starter, is not a good fit for a bullpen role that requires him to warm up quickly and take the mound when the situation calls for it. His two runs on seven hits in three innings against Tampa Bay on April 1 may have been the last time he wore a Toronto uniform for four years. I wonder if this is the end of Ryu’s time in Toronto.