It’s been a long road for Dodgers ace Hyun-Jin Ryu to get to his upcoming NLDS game 3 start. Moreover, it’s been a strange road leading to him even being in the conversation of being called an “ace” of the staff.
Shoulder surgery wiped out his 2015 season, and all but 1 start of his 2016 season. He returned in 2017 and each start felt like something could happen at any time. Then in 2018, the Korean native did something that hadn’t been seen since parts of his rookie campaign.
While a groin injury disrupted his season, it didn’t upend his game plan. Now Ryu has a 2.21 ERA over the last two seasons under his belt, and his eye on an important game 3 start in the NLDS on the road.
When assessing the last few seasons of his career, Ryu was honest with his take on whether he felt much emotion about his upcoming postseason start.
“I don’t think there’s much difference, but I guess the mind set has to change when it comes to postseason games,” Ryu said through an interpreter.
The lefty took the ball in game 1 of the 2018 NLDS and shut down the Atlanta Braves for 7 scoreless innings. However, he allowed 11 earned runs over his next 12 innings pitched, picking up two losses along the way.
After pitching a total of 213.2 innings between 2015-2018, Ryu was healthy enough to toss 182.2 innings in 2019. And with that, there’s more confidence heading into his first postseason start this season.
I feel healthier this season compared to the past seasons. But my job is to go out there and make sure to put up zeroes and try to give up the least amount of runs as a starting pitcher — and just go hard from the get go. I think there’s a little change in that respect, but in general I don’t think there’s much change from last season.
Now Hyun-Jin is poised to give the Dodgers a 2-1 series lead over the Nationals and Anibal Sanchez on the road. Our friend, and Dodgers stats man, Rick Krajewski helps identify one key to Ryu’s success against Washington.
The important pitch for Ryu today? His CH.
In his 2 starts against Washington this season, the Nationals went a combined 0 for 20 w/ 3 Ks against that pitch…which is surprising considering they had the 3rd highest BA in baseball against CHs this season#Dodgers
— Rick Krajewski (@Rick_K21) October 6, 2019
Number 99 has a 2-1 record with a 1.35 ERA in 5 career starts against the Nationals.