There is a little unknown for Orioles batters in Game 1 today as they face Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, a 26-year-old rookie in major league baseball, but a pitcher who spent seven seasons pitching in Korea.
He was a Korean Baseball Organization All-Star every season he played for the Hanwha Eagles and won the KBO strikeout title five times.
He has made three starts for Los Angeles and is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA with just three walks and 20 strikeouts over 18 2/3 innings.
Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley feels his hitters are as prepared as they can be today to face a pitcher they’ve never seen throw one pitch ever against them.
“We did the advance (meeting) yesterday and went over video then,” Presley said. “We have all this data on what he is throwing in what counts and we went over that. We showed the video and that is the biggest thing to me, let the players see his windup and so forth.
“He’s a four-pitch guy, changes speeds. We explained that to them. He’s got a pretty good changeup to a right-hander, pretty good slider down and in on a right-hander. We showed them how he’s going to pitch guys. There is a lot of information. You look to see is it 90 (mph) or 90 with a little extra on it. There is some unknown as far as that, but as for what he’s got and what he likes to do, we got it covered.”
Ryu gave up one earned run over 6 1/3 in his first start this year, two earned runs over 6 1/3 in his second and three over six innings his last time out.
Presley said the O’s players didn’t see any video of Ryu pitching in Korea and they didn’t need to.
“I don’t need to see what he has done the past year or two before, I want to see what he has done the past two weeks,” Presley said. “He may have changed. He may have developed a better curveball or learned a cutter so I want to see what he has done recently. Guys can change from year to year.”
Lefty batters are hitless vs. Ryu so far, going 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts. Right-handed batters are hitting .328 (19-for-58). Leadoff batters in an inning are 8-for-20 against him and when he pitches with a runner or runners in scoring position, Ryu gives up an average of .083 (1-for-12).
Presley points out that even with a good scouting report, there are times a pitcher goes against the reports and goes with what is working best that day. He cited the example of David Price who struggled at times with his fastball command here the other night and threw more offspeed pitches then the O’s expected him to throw.
Did the scouting pay off?: The Orioles hit two homers in the first four innings off Ryu today. J.J. Hardy hit a two-run shot in the second. He entered this game 5-for-29 over his last eight games. Nolan Reimold added a solo shot in the fourth. It’s his third homer of the year and third in the last six games.
Ryu had given up just one homer over 18 1/3 in his first three starts. But the O’s trail Ryu and the Dodgers 4-3 after four.
O’s get the lead: With a two-run botoom of the sixth the Orioles took a 5-4 lead and they’ve scored the last five runs in the game after trailing 4-0 in the second. Hardy’s sac fly tied the game and a Steve Pearce RBI single put the O’s up by one on the Dodgers and Ryu.