With the Dodgers and Braves tied at a game apiece, the NLDS will move to Dodger Stadium tonight. Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8, 3.00 ERA) will take the mound and hopefully dominate like he did at home all season long. Ryu was 7-4 with a 2.32 ERA at home this year, compared to a 3.69 ERA on the road.
Pitching will continue to be the key to the series and although this will be Ryu’s first postseason start as a major leaguer, he was known for big games in his native South Korea. Ryu was the Rookie of the Year and MVP of the Korean professional league (KBO), he’s pitched in a gold medal game in the Olympics and pitched in the finals of the World Baseball Classic. I think both the team and Dodger fans are all confident that Ryu is up to the challenge of pitching in October. Ryu has exceeded expectations all year long and were it not for his flashier teammate, Yasiel Puig, Ryu would be very much in the conversation for Rookie of the Year.
The key for the Dodgers offense will be scoring early and making sure they have the lead late in the game, otherwise, they’ll be at the mercy of the Braves’ bullpen. Craig Kimbrel just vaporizes opponents in the ninth inning with 98 Ks in 67 innings of work. However, getting on the board early hasn’t been an issue as the Dodgers romped Thursday night and they outhit the Braves 10-6 in Friday’s loss. Hanley Ramirez is on a tear hitting .444 with a home run, three doubles and four RBI in the first two games of the postseason.
The Braves will counter with right handed starter Julio Teheran (14-8, 3.20 ERA). The 22-year old Colombian was once one of the Braves’ most highly touted prospects, but he took a while to come around before finally turning the corner this year. Teheran throws a low-to-mid 90’s fastball and he has some nifty breaking pitches to go along with a nice changeup. However, consistency has been Teheran’s biggest problem throughout his young career. Teheran isn’t an innings eater and he’s prone to give up the long ball and he allowed 22 HRs in 185 2/3 IP this year.
Ryu posted a 2.13 ERA in two starts against the Braves this year with the Dodgers going 1-1 in those games. Meanwhile, the Dodgers didn’t see Teheran this year, but he was 6-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 14 starts on the road.
Don Mattingly had said after Game 2 that he didn’t expect Andre Ethier to be able to play the field in the NLDS. That being said, each team’s lineup should stay the same for Game 3.
In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!