Hyun-Jin Ryu has to be considered the hands-down favorite to claim the NL Cy Young Award right now. He will resume that pursuit this evening in an October-like environment on the West Coast.
When one hears of a Dodgers lefty chasing the Cy Young Award in today’s game, almost exclusively, the mind understandably goes to three-time winner Clayton Kershaw. However, it’s Korean-born Hyun-Jin Ryu leading the pack to claim the prized accolade this year.
Heading into Friday night’s marquee interleague matchup with the AL East-leading Yankees, Ryu is sporting a 12-3 record over 23 starts with an MLB-best 1.64 ERA. He’s also carrying the lowest WHIP in the National League at 0.94 (second in majors) alongside a 7.6 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, and 0.7 HR/9. Given the infamous #JuicedBall of 2019, that last mark is especially impressive.
Ryu did surrender a pair of longballs while taking a loss this past Sunday in Atlanta. That most recent outing was just the second of this season in which the 32-year-old hurler allowed more than two runs and just the fourth time he failed to earn a quality start.
The power-packed Braves lineup has hammered many opposing pitchers, but the Yankees, who currently own the American League’s best record at 83-46, pose no less of a threat despite a brief cold spell of late from their offense. However, one factor that certainly seems to be in Ryu’s favor for Friday is the fact that he has been absolutely unflappable on his home mound.
Ryu has been very good on the road this season, but his numbers in the City of Angels have been otherworldly. Across 11 starts at Dodger Stadium, Ryu is 9-0 with a 0.81 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 8.6 K/9.
In a series that has all the makings of a potential Fall Classic preview, Ryu will be on center stage Friday night with not just two of the most ardent fanbases in baseball looking on but plenty of watchful eyes from the voting media around the country. His best chance to leave a lasting impression is most definitely now.
Ryu will square off with fellow southpaw James Paxton. At 9-6 with a 4.53 ERA, Paxton has had an up-and-down season, but he has tremendous stuff in his flame-throwing left arm and, when right, is nothing short of ace caliber.
This is one late-season game, and weekend series for that matter, hardball fanatics will not want to miss.