While the Los Angeles Dodgers’ loss Friday is key considering their slim lead in the National League West standings, it may be secondary to an injury that would largely affect their postseason prospects regardless if they’re the Wild Card team or division champions.
After navigating his way through a first inning in which the San Francisco Giants scored four runs, Hyun-Jin Ryu was removed from the game due to irritation in his throwing shoulder. Following the loss, Ryu compared the issue to the shoulder inflammation he battled earlier this year and was optimistic he’d recover in the near future, via an AP report on ESPN:
I’m staying positive. I felt this before in the past, so hopefully it will be the same time that it took to recover from that,” Ryu said through a translator. “I think it was a week or two.”
The inflammation Ryu previously suffered from resulted in him being placed on the disabled list and missing 20 days. The Dodgers have 16 days remaining in the regular season and 15 games, including five more against the Giants.
With the Dodgers locked in a tight pennant race, losing Ryu would be a significant loss for a pitching staff that has depended on its top three starters — Ryu, along with Clayon Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
Ryu is expected to be examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache Saturday and stint on the 15-day disabled list would leave him eligible to return Sept. 28, which is the final day of the regular season. Assuming the southpaw may need the same 20 days to recover, Ryu would be ready by Oct. 3, when Game 1 of the NLDS is scheduled.
While securing the NL West title could prove more difficult without Ryu, if the Dodgers are able to do so, Ryu presumably wouldn’t be needed until Oct. 6 for Game 3 of the NLDS. Aside from the postseason implications, winning the division would leave the Dodgers in a much better position with respect to Ryu’s health.
However, reaching that point doesn’t figure to be a walk in the park.
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