first_img How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco It is a long way from a year ago, when Ryu was 5-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 25 starts and was passed over for Alex Wood when the playoff rotation was assembled.“As a starting pitcher, you definitely want to start those games,” Ryu said Sunday through an interpreter. “At the moment, I feel pretty optimistic.”He looked like an ace Sunday, although the competition must be taken into account. The Padres punted on this season before it began, and their main goal at this point is to avoid 100 losses (they’re at 94 with six to play).But every game is critical for the Dodgers, and the reputation as a big game pitcher that Ryu forged in seven seasons in the KBO League in his homeland has carried over.“He’s really focused,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He understands the magnitude of every start. I’ve said it; I’ve heard it, that he’s a big-game pitcher, and it showed today.“I think it’s (because of) the ability to execute multiple pitches. I think a certain moment doesn’t get too big for him. He’s got a very good heartbeat and doesn’t get too amped up. The adrenalin, I think he does a great job of controlling it. And so that, (plus) just the feel of his pitches, makes him very dangerous.”Those are qualities to treasure when the games become ever more important. Nor does it hurt to be able to handle the bat.We are not talking Shohei Ohtani levels of production. But Ryu is hitting .292 this season, best by far among Dodger pitchers. (And yes, that includes Kiké Hernández, with his .240 batting average and 81.00 ERA from his inning of work in Philadelphia in July. Among real Dodger pitchers, Kershaw is next at .233)Ryu singled in the second Sunday, singled and scored in the Dodgers’ six-run fourth, and singled and scored again in the fifth.“He’s always talked about how good a hitter he is,” Roberts said. “I didn’t see it the last couple of years, but we’re seeing it now.  Guys were having fun with it, but those at-bats are important to keep the line moving, turn the lineup over.”Who knows? Maybe Ryu even provided lineup protection for Austin Barnes, Sunday’s catcher, who slammed a two-run home run in the fourth hitting just ahead of Ryu. Barnes is now hitting .202.“Hopefully they don’t switch me from the eighth to the ninth hole now” when Ryu’s pitching, Barnes said with a laugh. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start LOS ANGELES — Sunday was Hyun-Jin Ryu’s turn on the mound for the Dodgers. It was already Monday in his native South Korea, and that also happened to be Chuseok, a Korean holiday celebrating family and ancestors.The people in his home country would have had to be awake at 5 a.m. to follow along from the first pitch. But it would have been worth it.Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.Ryu provided a full-service performance in the Dodgers’ 14-0 waxing of San Diego: Six shutout innings, with four hits allowed and eight strikeouts, and a 3 for 3 day at bat with two runs scored.Even better, we got to see him run the bases (to describe him as “chugging home” from second on Max Muncy’s RBI single in the fourth does not do it justice), and he covered first with all deliberate speed on a Hunter Renfroe grounder in the sixth and still got there in time.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error His earned run average dropped to an even 2.00 for the season Sunday, including a 2.05 ERA in his last six starts. The last two in particular have been gems; he preceded Sunday’s start with eight shutout innings last Monday night against Colorado, the first game of a critical series that the Dodgers ended with a sweep that put them back in first place.It is nowhere near a lock that the Dodgers will be in the postseason, mind you. They still have six games on the road against division rivals Arizona and San Francisco, both of which would relish the spoiler’s role for obvious reasons. Colorado, now 1 1/2 games behind, has seven left at home against Philadelphia and Washington, a pair of recently-eliminated NL East teams.But should the Dodgers pick their way through this minefield, either with their sixth straight division title or a wild-card spot, would you take your chances with a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Rich Hill and Ryu? I would. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season For a guy who’s listed as 6-foot 3 and 255 pounds, let’s call him deceptively nimble. More notably, he missed more than three months with a serious groin injury and would have every excuse to play it safe, but while he could never be described as quick, his want-to made up for it.Ryu’s desire and competitiveness have helped fashion an impressive stretch of pitching since his August 15 return from the disabled list. And if there was a dilemma or lack of clarity involving a potential Dodgers’ postseason rotation, Ryu has solved it.Related Articleslast_img

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