Los Angeles Dodgers’ left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin will become the first South Korean to start a World Series game this week.
The Dodgers will face the Boston Red Sox in the 2018 World Series. Game 1 will be at Fenway Park in Boston on Tuesday, followed by Game 2 at the same venue the next day.
LA manager Dave Roberts tapped ace Clayton Kershaw for the opening game, followed by Ryu in Game 2, beginning at 8:09 p.m.
(Eastern Time) on Wednesday, which will be 9:09 a.m. on Thursday in South Korea.
Both are left-handers. The Sox will counter with their two southpaws: Chris Sale in Game 1 and David Price in Game 2.
Two other South Korean pitchers, Kim Byung-hyun for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 and Park Chan-ho for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009, have appeared in World Series, but both pitched out of the bullpen at the time. Kim remains the only South Korean with a World Series ring.
This will be Ryu’s fourth start of this postseason. He’s gone 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA, with 15 strikeouts and two walks in 14 1/3 innings.
He blanked the Atlanta Braves over seven innings as the surprise Game 1 starter in the National League Division Series on Oct. 4. But the left-hander struggled in two starts against the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Championship Series.
In Game 2 of that series, Ryu was solid through the first four innings, before allowing a home run, a single and a double with one out in the fifth. He was charged with two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings on six hits but got a no-decision as the Dodgers rallied for a 4-3 win.
The Dodgers took a 3-2 series into Ryu’s Game 6 start, but he couldn’t pitch them to the World Series. He was hammered for seven hits, including four doubles, in three innings, and gave up five runs as the Dodgers lost 7-2.
In the first inning alone, Ryu allowed four straight two-out hits, all of them coming off either a curve or a changeup.
Both of his NLCS appearances came on the road. Given Ryu’s struggles away from Dodger Stadium, Roberts was expected to hold him back for Game 3 at home and put the left-hander in a more comfortable setting.
During the regular season, Ryu was 5-2 with a 1.15 ERA at home, versus 2-1 and a 3.58 ERA on the road.
Ryu has never pitched at Fenway Park. He’s faced the Red Sox once in LA, and that came on Aug. 24, 2013, during his rookie season.
Ryu was charged with a loss after allowing four earned runs on five hits in five innings, but those numbers mean little now because he will take on a vastly different Red Sox team this week.
The Red Sox boasts two of the most dangerous right-handed bats — or two of the most dangerous, period — in American League MVP candidate Mookie Betts and Triple Crown threat J.D. Martinez.
Betts won the batting title at .346, with Martinez finishing second with .330. Martinez was also second with 43 home runs but first with 130 RBIs.
Betts had a 30-30 season with 32 homers and 30 swipes, while ranking first in slugging percentage (.640) and second in on-base percentage (.438).
The Red Sox lead the majors with 876 runs scored. (Yonhap)