by JAMES S. KIM
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-jin Ryu has been nothing short of spectacular in his second season with the team. Young teammate Yasiel Puig has also been lights out—especially when it comes to his amazing bat flips. Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully calls him the “maestro” of bat flipping.
Ryu doesn’t get to swing the bat often, but we can only imagine how satisfying it is for a pitcher to help his own cause by putting the ball in play. He looked quite excited this past Friday when he led off the 5th inning against the Colorado Rockies with a ringing double to the warning track in right field. So excited, in fact, that he nearly turned himself around completely on the swing.
Fortunately, Ryu polished off his “bail and wail” swing with a smooth bat flip that makes you wonder if he and Puig operate on a similar wavelength. (Ryu’s number, 99, when flipped upside-down, is 66, which is Puig’s number.)
Talk about an emphatic follow-through.
Ryu shuffles his way down the first base line, then takes it to another gear as he rounds the base and neatly slides into second. And despite having lost some weight coming into the year, it’s not often that Ryu gets to leg out an extra-base hit in the Mile High City. His teammates surely gave him a ribbing for the huffing and puffing that nearly blew down Coors Field.
He didn’t get too long of a break, though. Two pitches later, the Dodgers’ Dee Gordon followed with a triple to the gap in right center field, scoring Ryu to put the boys in blue up 3-0. The running wouldn’t really phase Ryu, as he went on to pitch two more innings. He would get the win, giving up two earned runs over six innings.