Ryu Ji-hyeok (29‧KIA) almost got hurt in the match against SSG held at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on the 8th. Ryu Ji-hyeok, who was on third base in the second inning, collided with Park Jong-hoon, who entered the base cover while running toward the home base during a wild throw by opponent starter Park Jong-hoon.메이저놀이터
It was a very fleeting moment, so it was unintentional, but it looked like Park Jong-hoon was sitting on Ryu Ji-hyuk, and the impact was great on the left collarbone, which was naturally covered. This was the reason Ryu Ji-hyeok couldn’t stand up for a while after scoring. In the end, he had to go to the club’s designated hospital for a checkup after dropping out of the game. Fortunately, he was diagnosed with a bruise, but his shock was unlikely to go away in a day.
However, Ryu Ji-hyeok was listed on the lineup card as the first third baseman in the match against Doosan held at Jamsil Stadium on the 9th. KIA coach Kim Jong-guk sighed in relief, saying, “It’s okay because it’s a bruise.” If there is a shock, it is a situation where no one will say anything even if he says he will take a day off. However, Ryu Ji-hyeok chose to go to the game with a sense of responsibility.
In fact, Ryu Ji-hyeok had a stigma as a ‘player with frequent injuries’ for a long time. He had quite a history of actual injuries, and because of this, he was not able to play for a long time, so it was difficult for him to just protest. But he is different this year. Even though there were several situations where injuries could have occurred, such as the game on the 8th, the next day, I would go to the game without any problems. Even in the next match when his shin was bruised and bruised from being hit by a foul ball, and even when his collarbone throbbed, Ryu Ji-hyeok’s expression was calm.
Ryu Ji-hyeok, who has been consistently playing the game this season with such a sense of responsibility, is leading the team’s batting line with the team’s unwavering lead-off. The difference with and without Ryu Ji-hyeok has a big impact on the on-base rate of table setters. The 2nd batting order often changes, but this is why KIA’s 1st batting order has been fixed with Ryu Ji-hyeok so far.
Despite a collarbone injury, Ryu Ji-hyeok, who played the game, played a perfect role against Doosan in Jamsil on the 9th. He sometimes calmly looked at the ball and harassed the opposing pitcher, and made hits with strong swings on balls that came into his zone. On this day, Ryu Ji-hyeok went on base three times with 2 hits and 1 walk in 4 at-bats, opening the door to the team’s attack.
▲ Ryu Ji-hyeok is doing an excellent job as a leadoff with an excellent on-base percentage. ⓒReporter Kwak Hye-mi
▲ Ryu Ji-hyeok doing head first sliding against Doosan on the 9th right after his collarbone injury ⓒKIA Tigers
It was KIA who came to Seoul after losing 3 times in a row to SSG in 3 matches during the week. I felt exhausted both mentally and physically. However, in the first inning, Ji-hyeok Ryu, who was the team’s first batter, hit a triple through the middle right against opponent starter Dong-ju Kim, changing the mood. It created an opportunity to forget the three consecutive losses and quickly focus on a new game. It meant more than a simple triple.
In the 5th inning, when the score was 2-2, he got on base again by sending two strong batted balls to the center fielder, and when Ko Jong-wook’s batted ball entered the left field, he sprinted to the home field. It was impressive that he did not hesitate to perform head-first sliding despite suffering a collarbone injury the previous day. It was evident that he forgot everything and focused only on the game. After the game, KIA coach Kim Jong-guk also praised, saying, “In the other line, Ji-hyeok Ryu, who was a table setter, created a chance, and Jong-wook Ko showed a solution.”
Ryu Ji-hyeok added 3 on-base that day, raising the on-base rate even more. As of the 9th, Ryu Ji-hyeok’s on-base percentage for the season reached 0.390. It is the best on-base percentage of his individual career in terms of at-bats in regulation. He is 8th in on-base percentage in the entire league this season. His 0.307 batting average is also 12th in the league. He’s not a big hitter, but his leadoff performance is pretty ideal.
After KIA took over the Tigers franchise in 2001, that is, in the 21st century, there were only two third basemen who had a better on-base percentage than Ryu Ji-hyuk. In 2007, Hyun-gon Lee recorded 0.393, and in 2016, Beom-ho Lee recorded an on-base percentage of 0.391. Ryu Ji-hyeok’s record is in 3rd place, but it is not far from 1st or 2nd place. At this point, it is a range that can be overtaken even with an explosion in 1-2 games. If Ryu Ji-hyeok’s health and responsibility continue, the opportunity to overtake will continue to come.