Hyun-Jin Ryu gives Dodgers the start they needed

October 15, 2013

Hyun-Jin Ryu, shown in the second inning, pitched seven scoreless innings at a crucial time for the Dodgers. (David J. Phillip/Associated Press)

If Hyun-Jin Ryu is pitching with an injury, it sure didn’t show Monday night. With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ season essentially on the line following NLCS losses in games started by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, the 26-year-old South Korean pitched seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 win over St. Louis.

Los Angeles moved within 2-1 in the series entering tonight’s Game 4 as the left-handed Ryu pitched with the poise he had in midsummer when the Dodgers were going through a 42-8 stretch. Monday night, he allowed only three hits (none until the fifth inning) while walking one and striking out four.

After a rookie season in which he went 14-8 with a 3.00 ERA in 192 innings, Ryu allowed four runs in three innings in a no-decision in his NLDS start. Then, there were reports about him needing a compression sleeve for workouts and having to throw a bullpen session, something he doesn’t typically do between starts.

Ryu wrapped up his seventh inning after a visit to the mound from Manager Don Mattingly by striking out hulking left-handed hitter Matt Adams on a 91-mph four-seam fastball. That meant no mixing and matching was necessary. Brian Wilson pitched the eighth and Kenley Jansen the ninth to close out the Cardinals, who uncharacteristically struggled with the fundamentals..

Neither team is hitting in this series as both starting staffs are demonstrating why they finished 1-2 in the NL in ERA this season (3.13 for the Dodgers and 3.42 for the Cardinals). Barring any late developments, it’s up to St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn and Los Angeles right-hander Ricky Nolasco tonight. That’s a tossup, but it could be good for both teams not to have an ace going

After all, 2009 AL Cy Young winner Greinke, 2011 (and certainly 2013) NL Cy Young winner Kershaw, and 2010 NL Cy Young runner-up Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals have something in common — their teams have lost the games they’ve started in the NLCS.

MORE FROM THE POST:

Puig powers Dodgers to win in Game 3

Boston’s Ortiz and legend of being clutch

Notebook: Top of Detroit’s order is struggling

TODAY’S GAMES

ALCS Game 3, Boston at Detroit, 4 p.m., Fox, WSPZ (570 AM)

NLCS Game 4, St. Louis at Los Angeles, 8 p.m., TBS, WTEM (980 AM)

 

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