S. Korean pitchers set for late-season duel with strong postseason implications

September 17, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) — Two National League (NL) clubs with South Korean pitchers on their rosters will square off in a key three-game set this week with their postseason aspirations at stake.

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3 with a 2.42 ERA in 12 starts in 2018, will start the opening game that series against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Monday (local time). Awaiting a call from the Rockies’ bullpen will be right-handed reliever Oh Seung-hwan, who is 6-3 with three saves and a 2.78 ERA in 68 appearances.

This will be the final series between the NL West rivals this season. Through Sunday’s action, the Rockies were in first place at 82-67, and the Dodgers were half a game back in second place at 82-68. The Dodgers, who have won the past five NL West titles, are also tied for second in the NL Wild Card race with the St. Louis Cardinals, after losing to the Cards 5-0.

In this Getty Images file photo from Sept. 11, 2018, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. (Yonhap)

In this Getty Images file photo from Sept. 11, 2018, Ryu Hyun-jin of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds in the bottom of the first inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. (Yonhap)

The Dodgers hold the edge in head-to-head meetings so far at 9-7. Most recently, they won two out of three against Colorado from Sept. 7 to 9.

Ryu will be making his first start against the Rockies in 2018, and he has had his adventures against them over his career. He’s 3-6 in nine starts versus the Rockies with a 5.77 ERA in 43 2/3 innings. He has allowed 11 homers in those innings.

The Rockies really had Ryu’s number in 2017, when the lefty was 0-4 with an 8.64 ERA and served up seven long balls in just 16 2/3 innings.

Ryu has been hit hard over his past four starts, with 33 hits allowed over his past 23 2/3 innings. But he has been solid at home this year, with a 3-2 mark in seven starts at Dodger Stadium with a 1.51 ERA.

Oh, having joined the Rockies in a July trade from the Toronto Blue Jays, hasn’t pitched since Sept. 9 because of left hamstring pains. Oh, who threw a bullpen session on Sunday, told MLB.com that he felt fine and should be ready to take on the Dodgers.

He is 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA in 20 games as a Rockie, and that ERA took a beating after he served up two home runs in an inning of work against the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 3.

The only other time Oh allowed a home run in a Colorado uniform came against the Dodgers on Aug. 9, when Cody Bellinger touched him for a two-run blast.

Oh, who spent the past two seasons with the Cardinals, has yet to pitch at Dodger Stadium this year. He has tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings in two career appearances there.

Ryu and Oh have pitched in the same big league game once. On May 31, 2017, Ryu started for the Dodgers against the Cardinals, and got a no-decision in a 2-1 loss after allowing just one earned run in six innings. Oh picked up a save in that game with a scoreless ninth inning.

They both began their professional careers in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) — Oh in 2005 and Ryu a year later — and frequently crossed paths as top-notch starter and closer for a few years. Ryu signed with the Dodgers after the 2012 season and Oh left for Japan after 2013 and then arrived in the majors in 2016.

In this Associated Press file photo from Sept. 7, 2018, Oh Seung-hwan of the Colorado Rockies heads to the dugout after finishing off the Los Angeles Dodgers in the top of the seventh inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Coors Field in Denver. (Yonhap)

In this Associated Press file photo from Sept. 7, 2018, Oh Seung-hwan of the Colorado Rockies heads to the dugout after finishing off the Los Angeles Dodgers in the top of the seventh inning of a Major League Baseball regular season game at Coors Field in Denver. (Yonhap)

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