After a long rehabilitation tunnel, Ryu Hyun-jin (36-Toronto Blue Jays) is back on the field for the first time in two years.
Ryu will start the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at 8:07 a.m. ET next month.
Ryu will take the mound for the first time in 14 months after undergoing left elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in June of last year.
Before his injury, Hyun-jin Ryu had a strong showing in Baltimore, which has an Oriole as its mascot.
He didn’t face the Orioles in 2022, when he was limited to six games due to injury, but in 2021, he made six appearances against them, picking up four wins (one loss).
Ryu went at least five innings in five of those six games against the Orioles.
The catch is that Baltimore isn’t the same team this time around.
After hovering near the bottom of the American League (AL) every year, the Orioles lead the division this season with a solid pitching balance.
Through 31 games, they are 64-41 with a .610 winning percentage, good for first in the AL.
The Orioles are racking up a lot of wins with the help of their young rookie class.
RHP Kyle Bradish, Hyun-jin Ryu’s opponent on the mound, is another Baltimore young gun.
In his second year in the big leagues, Brady is 6-6 with a 3.29 ERA this season.
He’s been especially good lately. Since July, he’s gone six or more innings in every start and has a 2.25 ERA.
Baltimore’s hitters are also tough.
The Orioles have a lot of hitters with both long balls and power.
There are five players in the Baltimore starting lineup with double-digit home runs and three with nine.
One to watch is catcher Adley Rutherford, who is batting .272 with 14 home runs. He’s been particularly strong against left-handed pitching, batting .290.
He also batted leadoff against the New York Yankees on May 31, going 3-for-4 with a home run.
Outfielder Anthony Santander and infielder Gunnar Henderson should also be watched.
It’s also concerning that the Baltimore offense is coming back to life after a recent slump.
After a frustrating five-game stretch of four runs or fewer against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25, the Orioles scored nine runs for the first time in a long time against the Yankees on May 31, winning 9-3.
It hasn’t been easy, but Ryu has been prepared. He pitched in four minor league games to increase his pitch count, and on the 30th, he threw his final bullpen session at Rogers Centre.
The team praised Ryu for returning to his old form.