Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly’s decision to align his rotation so his top three starters would take the ball in the series with the San Francisco Giants worked to perfection.
The trio of Zack Greinke, Clatyon Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu turned in strong starting performances that helped power the Dodgers to a three-game sweep and move into first place in the National League West.
Ryu’s win was his 12th of the season and third consecutive. The left-hander struck out seven in six innings of work, again relying on pitches he’s polished with help from his teammates.
According to the OC Register’s Pedro Moura, Ryu sought advice from Kershaw to perfect his slider, which Ryu now says he can’t pitch without:
Not just this win, but the last three wins, it’s become a very key part of my pitches,” Ryu said through a translator. “It’s become now a pitch I can’t win without.”
Ryu stated he studied film of Kershaw and now uses it as a key pitch:
After studying video and imitating how he throws the ball and the velocity and the arm angle, I was able to sort of make it my own pitch,” Ryu said. “Ever since then, it’s been a go-to pitch for me.”
Greinke and Kershaw have drawn plenty of attention this season for their impressive records as leaders of the pitching staff while Ryu has flown under the radar. The second-year pitcher is only two wins away from matching his total from his rookie season.
Ryu has largely been a consistent contributor with three rough outings to his name this season. Coincidentally, the first came against the Giants when Ryu started the home opener in place of Kershaw, who was on the disabled list at the time.
The Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers also hit Ryu hard, however with the aid of a new slider, he’s allowed a combined five runs in 19 innings over his last three starts. If there’s been one inexplainable fault, it’s Ryu’s 4-3 home record.
Ryu will get the opportunity to improve his record at Dodger Stadium in his next scheduled start on Aug. 1 against the Chicago Cubs.
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