Ryu doesn't allow hit until 8th in LA's shutout

May 13th, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- nearly threw a no-hitter on Sunday and the media asked Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt how the left-hander had gotten so good so recently. Honeycutt smiled and chuckled, knowing this is no overnight sensation we’re talking about.

This is Ryu’s seventh season with the Dodgers after seven years professionally in Korea, and only now is he likely to make his first MLB All-Star Game because he’s having a truly elite year, underscored by Sunday’s 6-0 win over the Nationals in which he lost the no-hitter on a Gerardo Parra double with one out in the eighth inning.

Honeycutt recounted Ryu’s Dodgers milestones, from adding a slider in his second season and a cutter last year, to rebounding from two years of recovery from major shoulder surgery.

“This is just a continuance of what we saw last year,” Honeycutt said of Ryu’s 2018 season, in which he spent three months on the injured list with a torn groin. “Hyun-Jin does his homework, he prepares extremely well. He knows the areas he’s going to each at-bat. He never tries to do too much of the same thing to the same guy. He has so many weapons to keep them off guard.”

Honeycutt left out Ryu’s first Spring Training workout, when the lefty was so out of shape he couldn’t keep up with the other pitchers. Now that Ryu has a scoreless streak of 24 innings, the other pitchers are having trouble keeping up with him, at least on the leaderboard.

Following up his Tuesday night shutout of the Braves with eight scoreless innings of one-hit ball against the Nationals, Ryu is 5-1 with a 1.72 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. He struck out nine and walked one, giving him a crazy total of 54 strikeouts and only three walks. Since April 10, 2018, he is 12-4 with a 1.71 ERA and .205 opponents’ batting average.

"He didn’t throw very many fastballs,” said former teammate Brian Dozier, whose walk in the fourth was the third Ryu allowed this season and the first he’d allowed in 27 innings. “He relied on his cutter and his changeup. The only time I saw a fastball was with two strikes, and I think he just got people off balanced. Had people start sitting on the offspeed pitches, sitting on it, and he kept nibbling away and then blew it by them on the inside corner on a fastball. He did a really good job."

At Dodger Stadium, Ryu is even better, 7-0 with a 0.90 ERA. The walk to Dozier -- which Ryu said bothered him more than Parra’s double -- was his first at home since Aug. 26, 2018.

“To watch him work as a technician, it was masterful,” said manager Dave Roberts. “Everything he wanted to do, the way you script to attack a hitter and miss bats, he did it.”

Ryu made 116 pitches and Roberts -- who has removed Ross Stripling, Rich Hill and Walker Buehler from no-hitters after the sixth inning -- said he “was hoping for an efficient eighth to send him back out there for the ninth” if not for Parra’s double.

“If I didn’t give up that hit in the eighth inning, I probably would have wanted to go out for the ninth,” said Ryu. “I was feeling good. But giving up that hit, I thought it was best to give the ball up to the next one.”

The next one was Kenley Jansen, who worked a 1-2-3 ninth.

Ryu’s no-hitter made it that deep only because right fielder Cody Bellinger turned an assumed line-drive single by opposing pitcher Stephen Strasburg into a stunning 9-3 putout with one out in the bottom of the sixth.

Ryu said he wasn’t exactly disappointed at ultimately losing the no-hitter.

“If you go that far into a game without giving up a hit, I pat myself on the back for doing what a starting pitcher should do,” he said. “It’s not really a disappointment, but it’s not like I didn’t feel anything.”