Hyun Jin Ryu carries no-no to sixth; Blue Jays lose to Orioles

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TORONTO – If you want a taste of life as a Blue Jays starter in August, you’ve come to the right place in Hyun Jin Ryu’s sixth inning of the Orioles 4-2 loss on Tuesday night.

Within three pitches, Ryu went from a no-hit bid to a tie game. The Blue Jays’ offensive problems left their initial rotation with almost no margin for error, leaving Ryu exiting the hill in line for the loss just a few strokes later, his early dominance already feeling like a distant memory.

The loss dropped Toronto’s August record to 16-14, which is representative of who the club has been all season long. The Blue Jays have been held back from a seasonal run for a number of reasons, however, and lately the issue has been to score on time. That line-up was one of the best in baseball when it came to scoring with runners in the scoring position, but that hasn’t been the case lately and went 0-for-6 on Tuesday. Scoring late in the games was also an issue as Toronto started Tuesday with a .686 team OPS from the seventh inning and ranked 19th in the league. The 7-3 win on Monday was encouraging, but that has been the outlier lately.

Star outfielder George Springer was removed from defeat as a precautionary measure after the Blue Jays discovered he was feeling uncomfortable running the bases. It is “everyday” and will be evaluated on Wednesday, says the club. And while there doesn’t seem to be any worries at first, Toronto must hope it won’t be forced to forego Springer’s bat for more games in order to get its offensive back on track.

The Red Sox (75-59) also lost to the Rays (84-48), leaving the Blue Jays (69-62) 4 1/2 games behind second AL Wild Card place. Boston has lost three in a row, and after star shortstop Xander Bogaerts was removed from Tuesday’s loss, it was announced that he became the club’s sixth player to test positive for COVID-19 as of Friday. With the A’s (73-59) just a Red Sox return leg, the dynamics of this wild card race are changing fast, but the Blue Jays will soon have a few more wins to keep September interesting.

Ryu also showed the right signs that he was recovering from one of his worst starts with Toronto. The veteran left-hander allowed seven deserved runs with seven hits (including three home runs) in just 3 2/3 innings against the White Sox on Thursday. That’s not Ryu, but then again, it gave him an ERA of 4.75 that dates back to early June. It took Ryu 28 pitches to get through Tuesday’s first inning and the ending wasn’t neat, but everything in between was vintage ryu.

Looking at the last full month of the season, now at 3.92 ERA, Ryu’s goal is simple: more of the first five innings, less of the sixth.

“The first [priority] would be to do what a starter has to do, which is to keep my team in the game, ”Ryu said through a translator. “I’ve said that before, but I think I really need to focus on preventing that one inning in the game where I’m giving up runs. I also have the feeling that I gave up several runs in one inning today, which caused the difficult situation for our team. “

A small margin of error is already Ryu’s greatest challenge as a pitcher, even if he has mastered it brilliantly in eight MLB seasons. With a fastball averaging 89.7 mph and the ability to rely on control with an excellent move, missing a place can mean trouble. It’s not the same for someone like Robbie Ray, for example, who can miss his place or take his B-level stuff up the hill and still get by on speed.

“These guys are professionals. We fought somehow. It’s been a long time since the offense struggled so the pitchers know that, ”said coach Charlie Montoyo. “It’s part of being a team – they have to keep you in the game, and they did. That’s why we still win games even though our offense doesn’t score. “

Any major stumbling from the rotation at this point would sink the Blue Jays, but for the most part the group was their rock. The bats will eventually wake up, but in the meantime, the Toronto pitching team will continue to be tasked with giving the team opportunities.