After sitting on the bench for the first 2 games of the NLDS, Russell Martin will start and catch Hyun-Jin Ryu in game 3 on Sunday.
Dave Roberts said Russell Martin catches Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) October 5, 2019
By now you know Hyun-Jin Ryu’s 2019 story. He was electric from the start of the season through about mid-August, tossing 142.2 innings with a 1.45 ERA over 22 starts. Then he hit a late season skid and allowed 21 earned runs over a 4 start and 19 inning span, ballooning his ERA up a full run.
Coincidentally or not, Will Smith caught 3 of those 4 starts and questions began to surface about Smith’s rapport with the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Focusing on Ryu, he had a 1.52 ERA in 20 starts throwing to Martin this season, and a 5.40 ERA in 6 starts with Smith.
Moreover, manager Dave Roberts tells Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that it shouldn’t be considered a “strict pairing” with the lefty ace and veteran backstop. However, he does know the numbers and understands the comfort level between the two.
Beyond that, while Ryu has never placed any blame on the rookie catcher, the numbers paint a compelling argument. When you ask Martin, he only praises Ryu.
The numbers say that he’s good with me, but he’s just a good pitcher. He can execute pitches and do different things, and he’s really good at creating his own game plan. He studies hitters. He knows exactly what he wants to do out there. I’m trying to guide him, just stay in synch, feel what he wants to do. — via JP Hoornstra; OC Register
And now, thanks in part to his success with the NL Cy Young hopeful, Sunday will mark the first postseason game in a Dodger uniform for Russell Martin since October 21, 2009.