Yesterday against the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu stepped back into the rotation for the first time since April 27. Despite his stay on the disabled list, Ryu pitched as though he had not missed any time at all and ultimately earned the win for the Dodgers.
Ryu scattered 9 hits while striking out nine and walking only one. He gave up two earned runs in his six innings of work, both of which came after Ryu gave up a home run to Eric Campbell in the bottom half of the sixth inning. This may have simply been a matter of endurance, as Ryu gave up four hits in the inning and seemed to labor despite a relatively economical pitch count.
Ryu’s return to the rotation may mark an important turning point in the Dodgers season. The return of the big lefty marks the first time this season that the Dodgers have had all of their starting pitchers healthy and in the rotation. The Dodgers have used fill-in starters Paul Maholm, Stephen Fife and Red Patterson this season, all with varying results. With the rotation intact and a relatively easy upcoming schedule, the Dodgers seem poised to make a run in the NL West.
It should be especially encouraging that Dan Haren and Josh Beckett, both of whom entered the season amid uncertainty with regard to their effectiveness, have pitched extremely well. Beckett currently holds a 2.89 ERA to go with 46 strikeouts in 46.2 innings, while Haren has pitched to a 3.18 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 56.2 innings.
With Haren and Beckett pitching exceptionally well, the Dodger rotation now has an opportunity to regain control of the Dodgers season and help get the team back on track. At this point, it may simply be a matter of keeping Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Ryu, Haren and Beckett healthy for the Dodgers to make another impressive run through the summer months of the season.
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