Hyun-Jin Ryu
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Baseball Daily Dose

Artful Dodger

by Nathan Grimm
Updated On: May 13, 2019, 2:31 pm ET

If Mike Fiers was an unlikely candidate to record the season’s first no-hitter, Hyun-Jin Ryu’s run at history on Sunday made more sense.

Ryu took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before a one-out, ground-rule double by Gerardo Parra saved the Nationals from being a trivia answer. Ryu finished with eight scoreless innings, striking out nine with the one hit and one walk.

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

Those paying attention might have seen this coming, after the southpaw strung together increasingly dominant starts in the weeks leading up to Sunday. On the first day of May, Ryu held the Giants to a lone run over eight strong innings, and on Tuesday he twirled a four-hit shutout.

On the whole it’s been a fantastic year for the 32-year-old. Ryu has yet to allow more than two runs in a single start, resulting in a 1.72 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 54/3 K/BB ratio in 52 1/3 innings.

Skill has rarely been in question, but his health has held him back from becoming a bigger star outside of Los Angeles. Ryu had a microscopic 1.97 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 15 starts last season but missed three months with a groin tear.

“This is just a continuance of what we saw last year,” Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “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.”

It didn’t happen Sunday, but with the way he’s throwing, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he makes history at some point.


Cruz Dealing With 'Painful' Wrist

Nelson Cruz may be headed for an absence after exiting Sunday’s game.

Cruz was removed for a pinch-hitter in a critical spot in Sunday’s loss to the Tigers, and after the game it was revealed he has been playing through left wrist soreness that became too much to bear after a sixth inning at-bat. In talking to reporters, Cruz said the ailment is “something I’ve been dealing with” and that today “was more painful.”

“These are the things you just want to be careful of,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He’s a guy [who] knows his body very very well, so [we’ll talk] about past history and the things that he’s dealt with. But I think it’s something we’ll be able to work through.”

Cruz will undergo an MRI on Monday, after which more will be known about the injury and his timeline. That a trip to the injured list is being discussed, even if vaguely, suggests a stint on the shelf is likely.

If Cruz does have to miss time, it likely means more at-bats for Willians Astudillo, who was activated from his own IL stay Sunday, and Mitch Garver. Both catchers provide value with their bats, and both can spell the other and Jason Castro as the three vie for two starting spots each day.

Another option presented by the Star-Tribune was a Miguel Sano promotion. Sano remains on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester, and he’s hit .303/.359/.606 in nine minor league games since returning to action.

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Mother's Day, Others Debut

It was a day of firsts for a few green pitchers Sunday.

Astros prospect Corbin Martin and Phillies prospect Cole Irvin both made their MLB debuts Sunday, with Martin squaring off against the Rangers and Irvin taking on the Royals. And both showed well, earning wins for their efforts.

In Houston, Martin showed off why he was included in some top-100 prospect lists this spring, striking out nine Rangers while limiting them to two runs over 5 1/3 innings. He surrendered just three hits and a walk before exiting.

“I loved him,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “I thought he had a tremendous start, obviously. Getting into the game it was really good for him. He missed a lot of bats, he threw the ball where he wanted to. We gave him a lead and he was completely in control of himself and handled the moment in the best way possible.”

Irvin, the Phillies’ fifth-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, grabbed fewer headlines with his promotion for Sunday’s start, but in a few ways his was more dominant than Martin’s. Irvin scattered five hits and a walk over seven innings, keeping the Royals to one run in the victory.

“Man, that was fun,” Irvin said Sunday. “Big inning in the fifth and allowing J.T. Realmuto to take me for a ride.”

Both starters seem to have ensured themselves another turn in their respective rotations, and both are worth a look in fantasy leagues where available.


National League Quick Hits: Anthony Rizzo was not in the Cubs' lineup Sunday due to back tightness. Rizzo usually misses a few games each year when his back tightens up on him. He should be ready to go Tuesday after Monday's off day. … Chris Archer (thumb) will rejoin the Pirates' rotation on Wednesday versus the Diamondbacks. Archer threw a 60-pitch simulated game on Friday with no issues, clearing the way for his return. The right-hander has been out all month with inflammation in his right thumb. Archer holds a 4.33 ERA over five starts this season. … Freddie Freeman was scratched from the Braves' lineup Sunday due to a cold. Freeman has been under the weather for a few days. He should be back in the lineup Tuesday after Monday's off day. … Charlie Blackmon’s heater continued Sunday, going 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI in a win over the Padres. Blackmon now has five homers in his last 10 games, and the 32-year-old is 16-for-42 (.380) with 11 of those 16 hits going for extra bases. The 10-game hitting streak has his line up to a robust .305/.368/.573 after a slow start at the dish. … Jon Lester turned in another terrific outing in Sunday night's victory over the Brewers, allowing just one unearned run on nine hits over his 6 2/3 innings. The 35-year-old has been outstanding through his first seven starts on the season, posting a minuscule 1.16 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 39/8 K/BB ratio over his 38 2/3 innings. … Corey Seager hit a grand slam and finished with five RBI in Sunday's win over the Nationals. The homer was just Seager's second of the year, and the shortstop is hitting .225/.325/.341 in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. … Raimel Tapia went 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and two runs scored in the Rockies’ 10-7 win over the Padres on Sunday. The 25-year-old is now hitting a strong .313/.352/.626 with five homers, 18 RBI and 11 runs scored in 37 games this year. Playing regularly for a good Rockies club, Tapia shouldn’t be unowned in fantasy leagues. … Josh Bell went 4-for-4 with a three-run homer and a career-high five RBI to power the Pirates to a 10-6 comeback win over the Cardinals. It was an epic performance from the 26-year-old slugger, who finished with a season-high four hits and notched the fifth four-hit performance of his career in this one. He’s rapidly evolving into an elite four-category contributor at the cold corner, hitting .319/.389/.659 with 25 runs scored and 34 RBI across 157 plate appearances. … Ryan Braun (hamstring) remained out of the Brewers' lineup Sunday.


American League Quick Hits: Red Sox manager Alex Cora indicated Sunday that David Price (elbow) might rejoin the rotation next weekend against the Astros. Price was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday. He would presumably have another throwing session mid-week before returning next weekend if all goes well. The left-hander will have missed just over two weeks of action with elbow tendinitis if he does indeed make it back next weekend. … Khris Davis (hip) was back in the Athletics' lineup Sunday. It's was just Davis' second start since he suffered a left hip contusion a week ago (and he exited the other start early). He went 2-for-4 in his return. … Mariners placed RHP Felix Hernandez on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. The news comes after Hernandez struggled again Saturday in Boston, allowing seven runs over just 2 1/3 innings. He said Sunday that his shoulder "just doesn’t feel right" and that he experienced a pinching sensation in his last couple pitches Saturday. It's not clear how long King Felix might be sidelined, but obviously fantasy owners weren't going to be counting on him even before the injury. … George Springer collected a season-high five hits, including a pair of home runs, four RBI and five runs scored in the Astros’ lopsided victory over the Rangers on Sunday. It was only the third game of his entire career with at least five hits. The 29-year-old outfielder is now up to 15 long balls on the season after posting the ninth multi-homer effort of his career. He’s well on his way to eclipsing his previous career-high of 34 homers, established back in 2017, and has even chipped in four steals this season. If he can stay healthy for the entire campaign, fantasy owners could be staring at a legitimate career-year from Springer. … Blake Snell fanned 12 batters while allowing two runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings in Sunday's 7-1 loss to the Yankees. The hard-throwing southpaw finished up his day's work having thrown 96 pitches (68 strikes). He will carry a 3.56 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 62/11 K/BB ratio (43 innings) into a road rematch with these same Yankees when he next toes the rubber. … Shane Greene fired a scoreless ninth inning to record his American League-leading 15th save of the season against the Twins on Sunday. The 30-year-old righty has been simply outstanding this season, posting a microscopic 1.50 ERA and 22/4 K/BB ratio across 18 appearances. … Alex Bregman went 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and five RBI to power the Astros to a 15-5 rout of the Rangers on Sunday. The 25-year-old third baseman is now up to 12 round-trippers on the year after recording the third multi-homer game of his career. The five-category fantasy superstar owns a sublime .277/.391/.577 triple-slash line with 22 runs scored, 31 RBI and a pair of stolen bases in 169 plate appearances. … J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, a two-run home run and three runs scored in Sunday's 11-2 win over the Mariners. The All-Star slugger is now up to seven big flies for the season, to go with 24 RBI. While he has yet to settle into a true power groove -- maybe Sunday was the start of one -- he hasn't been pressing, either, hitting .313/.393/.507 overall through 39 games played. Martinez has clocked 40-plus home runs each of the last two seasons. He figures to be in that range once more when all is said and done at the end of the year.