After Hyun-Jin Ryu labored through a start against the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team would look to skip the left-hander in the rotation at some point during September and potentially limit him in outings as well.
While he didn’t completely rule it out, Roberts downplayed the idea Ryu’s struggles stemmed from fatigue. The 32-year-old emphatically denied that was the case, despite having already thrown the most innings since his rookie season in 2013.
Ryu was supporting that claim through three innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, but then failed to make it out of the fifth. He allowed seven earned runs in a second consecutive start and third time overall this year.
Although Ryu once again did not pitch to expectations, Roberts maintained he’s close to the dominant form that put him into the conversation for a Cy Young Award, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“There was certainly bad luck in there but I think overall it’s one of those where he’s just off. Pitches that typically he’s one the edges and down, there were a handful of pitches that leaked back to the big part of the plate. With that, and then some of the bad luck, it just led to that unfortunate outing. I don’t know if it’s delivery, he’s just off a little bit. …
“I understand it’s three in a row that he hasn’t thrown the way that he’s thrown all year, but for us, it’s not too far off. … Just seeing the way the baseball comes out of his hand, velocity is still there. Missing is just off, so I don’t think it’s a fatigue thing. The way he looks and in talking to him, he’s very strong. I don’t see that there’s a drop-off in stuff. The drop-off is just the little bit of that command.”
Ryu retired the first seven Diamondbacks batters and stranded a one-out single in the third inning. He hit Tim Locastro with a pitch to start the fourth, and it wound up leading to trouble.
The Diamondbacks scored four runs to take a lead, and tacked on three more in the fifth inning. In both cases, soft contact set up big hits — run-scoring doubles by Wilmer Flores, Nick Ahmed and Adam Jones.
The fifth inning was particularly out of character, as the Diamondbacks strung together five straight hits with two outs to add to their lead and chase Ryu from the game.
Ryu has now allowed a combined 25 hits and 18 earned runs over 14.2 innings pitched in his last three starts.