Ryu is fastest KBO pitcher to 1,000 strikeouts

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Ryu is fastest KBO pitcher to 1,000 strikeouts


Ryu Hyun-jin

Hanwha Eagles pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin became the youngest baseball player to collect 1,000 career strikeouts in KBO history Sunday, after he threw a complete game and added eight strikeouts in a 2-1 win over the Doosan Bears in Daejeon. It was his seventh win of the season.

Being the modest man he is, Ryu said, “I’m happy I set the record but I mainly feel good because my team won the game.”

Ryu’s 1,000th strikeout came in the top of sixth inning, when he struck out designated hitter Choi Joon-seok with a 136 kilometer (85 mile) per hour slider. He is now the 22nd player in KBO history to reach that mark.

Ryu, 24, was born March 25, 1987, making him 19 days younger than Joo Hyung-kwang when he reached the 1,000 strikeout mark for the Lotte Giants in 2000. Joo, interestingly enough, also did it against the Bears.

But the left-handed pitcher didn’t just break that record. He’s been on a tear since his professional debut in 2006.

He became the fastest pitcher to get to 1,000 strikeouts in terms of games pitched - 153. The previous record was held by Ryu’s pitching coach Jeong Min-chul, who reached 1,000 in 180 games. Jeong had only good things to say about Ryu.

“He is the future of Korean baseball, I hope he sets more great records.” Jeong told Ilgan Sports.

Ryu’s 1000th career punchout was also his 100th of the season, which gives him six consecutive seasons with 100 strikeouts since his professional debut in 2006. Lee Kang-chul, who is currently the Kia Tigers pitching coach, tops the category with 10 consecutive seasons of at least 100 strikeouts.

The southpaw was also the youngest player and first rookie ever to compile 200 strikeouts or more in a single season and holds the record for most strikeouts in a nine-inning game when he blew away 17 LG Twins hitters last year.

In fact, he has failed to win the strikeout title only once in his six-year career, finishing second behind Kim Kwang-hyun of the SK Wyverns in 2008.

“He knows how to dominate each inning. He knows how to control his tempo and suppress hitters early with strikeouts.” Jeong said.

Most baseball pundits say that if Ryu continues to perform at this level, he could pass Eagles legend Song Jin-woo as the all-time KBO strikeout leader. Song, who currently coaches for the Eagles’ minor league team, has 2,048 career strikeouts and is the only player, active or retired with 2,000.

“For Ryu, 1,000 strikeouts is not a big record,” Jeong said. “He is on track to set [an even greater] record. I think he can pass Song’s [strikeout record].”

After the game against the Bears, Ilgan Sports, the JoongAng Ilbo’s daily sports newspaper, briefly spoke with Ryu to discuss his record and future goals.

Q. Did you think about the record during the game?

A. Actually, I was thinking about it. But the Bears batters hit my pitches early on in the game, so I tried to throw with more power later.

How did you feel when you got you got your 1,000th strikeout in the top of the sixth inning?

I was excited. In fact, when I didn’t get strikeouts in the beginning of the game, I thought back to the game against the Lotte Giants (on June 10, when Ryu was pulled from the game after allowing five runs on seven hits in two innings). But it’s fortunate I got good results.”

You’ve never had less than 100 strikeouts in a season, what’s your secret?

There is nothing special. I just follow my physical trainer’s instructions. I just have a flexible body because of my parents.

You already have 103 strikeouts this season. Are you going for the 200 mark?

I don’t think that I will surpass 200. I will probably get 180 strikeouts.

What record do you want challenge next?

I want to get my 100th career win. I have (15) wins left to go, so I think it will be impossible this season.

By Kim Dong-hwan, Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
류현진 최연소·최소경기 1000K 꽂았다
두산전 완투승으로 시즌 7승
삼성, KIA 꺾고 다시 단독 2위
‘괴물’ 류현진(24·한화)이 프로야구사에 새 이정표를 또 하나 세웠다. 최연소 및 최소경기 1000탈삼진의 주인공이 됐다.

 류현진은 19일 대전구장에서 열린 두산과의 홈 경기에 선발 등판해 6회 초 최준석을 헛스윙 삼진으로 돌려세우며 통산 1000번째 삼진을 잡았다. 2006년 데뷔 후 여섯 시즌 만에 이뤄낸 기록이다.

 또 역대 22명의 1000탈삼진 이상 투수 중 최연소(24세 2개월 25일)이자 최소경기(153경기) 신기록을 달성했다. 최연소는 주형광(전 롯데)의 24세 3개월 14일, 최소경기는 정민철(전 한화)의 180경기가 종전 기록이었다.

 전날까지 류현진은 통산 995개의 삼진을 잡아냈다. 이날 대전구장 관중석에는 삼진을 뜻하는 ‘K’를 5개에서 하나씩 제거해 나가는 ‘거꾸로 상황판’이 등장하기도 했다.

 초반 페이스는 더뎠다. 5회까지 탈삼진이 3개에 그쳤다. 그러나 6회 들어 선두 타자 김현수를 삼진으로 돌려세운 뒤 곧바로 최준석에게 볼카운트 2-1에서 4구째 시속 136㎞의 몸쪽 슬라이더를 던져 헛스윙을 유도하면서 대기록을 완성했다. 홈 팬들은 기립박수로 축하했다. 이날 총 8개의 삼진을 잡아내 통산 기록을 1003개로 늘렸다. 류현진은 역대 일곱 번째이자 현역 선수로는 유일하게 6년 연속 세 자릿수 탈삼진 기록도 세웠다. 올 시즌 103개의 탈삼진으로 이 부문 선두를 굳게 지켰다. 또 9이닝 6피안타·1실점 완투승으로 시즌 7승째를 따내며 다승 공동 선두인 장원준(롯데)·윤석민(KIA)·박현준(LG·이상 8승)을 1승 차로 추격했다. 한화는 1-1로 맞선 9회 말 이대수의 끝내기 희생 플라이로 2-1로 승리했다.

 광주구장에서는 삼성이 KIA에 4-3으로 역전승해 다시 단독 2위로 올라섰다. SK는 LG를 6-2로 누르고 선두를 지켰다. SK는 0-0이던 5회 초 LG 수비진의 잇따른 실책을 틈타 5점을 뽑았다. LG 선발 박현준은 4와 3분의 1이닝 5실점(비자책)으로 3연패에 빠졌다.
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