Dodgers’ Ryu Hyun-jin shaky again in no-decision vs. Rockies

September 5, 2019

It was a short and not at all sweet day on the mound for Ryu Hyun-jin.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ South Korean left-hander got a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies, after giving up three runs on six hits and a season-high four walks in 4 1/3 innings at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday (local time).

Ryu, who struck out five, left the game with the Dodgers ahead 7-3, and they went on to win by that same score.

Ryu remained at 12-5 and his ERA went up from 2.35 to 2.45. He still leads Major League Baseball (MLB) in that category, but over his past four starts, the ERA has risen by a full run.

He entered this game having allowed 18 earned runs in the past 14 2/3 innings over his last three starts. He lost all three of those games.

Ryu looked poised to finally add one to his win column, not so much thanks to his own pitching but to LA’s excellent defense and opportunistic offense. But he failed to get out of the fifth inning for the third straight start, the longest such slide since September 2017.

Ryu told reporters afterward that never in his career has he struggled so much for four consecutive starts, and blamed his recent slump on his balance.

“My arm slot has gotten lower, and overall, I don’t have good balance,” Ryu said. “It has affected my command, especially the changeup, which I usually throw with so much confidence.”

Asked to elaborate on his balance, Ryu said he’s not been as sharp or precise with his weight transfer as he’d been earlier in the season. He added he’s been studying his video closely to address the issue.

Ryu pitched around a one-out walk in the first inning. After Joc Pederson put the Dodgers up 1-0 with a leadoff home run in the bottom first, Ryu struck out the side in the top of the second inning, though he issued another walk in that inning.

Ryu rolled his right ankle on landing while striking out Ryan McMahon to start the second, but he didn’t look any worse for wear.

After a one-out single by Trevor Story in the third, Ryu got some help from his infield to escape the inning unscathed, as shortstop Corey Seager caught a line drive by Charlie Blackmon and then doubled off Story at first base.

And it was the Dodgers bats’ turn to help Ryu, as they put up a four-spot in the bottom third for a 5-0 lead on three singles, a groundout and a fielder’s choice.

But Ryu squandered away some of that lead in the top of the fourth. He walked Nolan Arenado to begin the inning, and the free pass finally came back to bite him. Arenado moved to second on a groundout, and then McMahon doubled him home to cut the deficit to 5-1.

Ryu struck out Tapia for the second time but walked Garrett Hampson to put men at first and second. Then Drew Butera singled home a run to make it 5-2, with the runners now at the corners.

The defense came through for Ryu again, this time with left fielder Chris Taylor making a diving grab on a flyball by pinch hitter Josh Fuentes to possibly save two runs.

A miss there would have extended the inning for the Rockies’ top of the order, and things could have unraveled from there for Ryu.

Instead, the Dodgers’ lineup got two runs back for Ryu in the bottom fourth, with Pederson launching a two-run bomb for his second home run of the game and a 7-2 lead.

But Ryu didn’t stick around long enough to get the win despite the comfortable lead. With one out in the fifth, Ryu served up three consecutive singles, the last by Ian Desmond to shallow right that drove in the Rockies’ third run.

That RBI single ended the short night for Ryu, who was lifted for Adam Kolarek two outs from qualifying for his 13th win of the season.

Ryu threw 93 pitches, 58 of them for strikes, as he went to the full count five times. He also allowed at least one base runner in every inning.

Ryu rued his lack of batted ball luck compared with earlier in the season.

“When things were going well, hard-hit balls went right to fielders, but recently, I’ve given up some soft hits,” he said. “I got plenty of run support today but I ran up the pitch count and didn’t get the win.”

In his three previous meetings against Colorado this year before Wednesday, Ryu was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 16 innings, with 18 hits and three home runs allowed.