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Ryu, Hill, Maeda: Former Dodgers Pitchers Sprinkled All Over MLB Playoffs



We know the Dodgers are the best team in baseball in 2020. The record says it, the run differential says it, and even national outlets like ESPN (likely begrudgingly) agree. While it’s not a far stretch for Los Angeles to be in the playoffs — the club clinched it’s eighth consecutive NL West crown last week, they’re doing it partially with a new cast of arms sprinkled through the pitching staff.

From at least 2016 through 2019, the Dodgers rotation was made up of some variation of Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda. Then Walker Buehler prominently added his name to the fray by 2018.

Now, heading into the first postseason series of the new decade, Kershaw and Buehler are there, but new names like Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin make their first honest appearances. But that doesn’t mean the names above are on the sidelines for October.

Maeda and Hill

Kenta Maeda grew increasingly frustrated by his role in LA. In every postseason save for his first, he would be moved to the bullpen as the Dodgers looked to fill other obvious holes bridging to closer Kenley Jansen. Last offseason, he more or less politely demanded a trade to a contender where he could start. Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Freidman obliged and eventually ended up shipping Kenta-san to Minnesota for righty flamethrower Brusdar Graterol.

Now with the Twins, Maeda has thrived while becoming the staff ace of a very talented but young rotation. In 11 starts, the former Dodger is 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA for the AL Central leaders. 

Another much less young piece in that Minnesota rotation is old friend Rich Hill.

Hill, who was recently in Dodgers news involving Buehler, has found success with the Twins. Even at the age of 40 and coming off of an offseason elbow surgery, the crafty lefty sports a 2-2 record with a 3.27 ERA in 7 starts.

Notably, short-lived former Dodger reliever Sergio Romo is also collecting saves in Minnesota at the age of 37.

Ryu and Ross Stripling 

Elsewhere in the league, LA’s game 1 starter a season ago Hyun-Jin Ryu has been everything the Toronto Buffalo Blue Jays had hoped for in his first season north of the border in New York. The 2019 All-Star Game starter for the NL has anchored an otherwise awful Toronto rotation this season. 

In 12 starts, Ryu has a 5-2 record with a 2.69 ERA to lead a team that secured its first playoff berth since 2016.

Also on that Blue Jays ballclub is old friend Ross Stripling. In a surprising move at this year’s trade deadline, the Dodgers traded Stripling to Toronto over shifting him to the bullpen after being unable to capitalize on a rotation spot in the shortened season.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone too much better with the Jays. In 4 appearances (3 starts), the Big Swing Podcast host has a 5.70 ERA in 15 innings pitched. However, advanced stats indicate he may be a victim of some bad luck, with a 3.72 FIP telling a different story.

We wish the best of luck to each and every former Dodger in the postseason (at least until they potentially match up with LA).

NEXT: Dodgers Will Enter Playoffs with a New Uncertainty Thanks to 2020 Format

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. Looking at the picture for this article it’s hard to tell a World Series game was going on. Fans in the back acting like it’s a weeknight game in July

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