After a demoralizing two game road trip to open the NLCS Postseason Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers returned home to a packed house and a lot of question marks. What are the results of Hanley Ramirez’s CT scan? How are Andre Ethier‘s shin splints doing? Which Hyun Jin Ryu will show up? What will the morale of the Dodgers squad be? The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have all the answers, but they feel much better about their chances after Game 3.
Hanley Ramirez was in the lineup, and that alone gave the Dodgers a huge boost of confidence. He did not have a broken rib according to the CT scan. He only had a hairline fracture. But he took the field regardless, despite the discomfort. He emotionally charged the ballclub and Dodgers fans with his presence–not to mention he had two flared singles on the night. He was subbed for a defensive replacement in the 9th, but he didn’t appear to aggravate the injury beyond the existing discomfort.
Hyun Jin Ryu found himself in a world of trouble in his three innings of work in what resulted in a 13-6 blowout of the Braves. The Rookie of the Year candidate from South Korea was sharp all season, but which Ryu would show up in his second post-season Game 3? After walking the dangerous Carlos Beltran in the first inning, it was evident Ryu brought his ‘A’ game to the mound. He typically found himself in a few tough jams, but in what has become his signature style, he pitches better while escaping tough spots.
In the 5th and 7th innings each, Ryu faced what looked like would be his last batter. But he battled back to get Daniel Descalso out in the 7th, and earn the opportunity to (successfully) strike Matt Adams out. They were signature, clutch outs as his pitch count was rising up to 108 and his spot in the lineup was approaching. But Mattingly didn’t lift him until the bottom of the 7th inning.
Ryu struck out 4, walked 1, and allowed only 3 hits in his 7 innings. That was the type of 3rd starter performance the Dodgers got all season. The Cardinals only had 1 runner in scoring position the whole game. Ryu really picked up the team when they needed it.
That gives me, and presumably the Dodgers staff, much more confidence using Ryu in a Game 7 Start if necessary, or Game 6 on short rest.