For most of the 2019 season, Hyun-Jin Ryu has been the ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers staff. Behind one brilliant outing after another, he led in several pitching categories and was selected to start for the National League team in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.
Recently, however, Ryu has posted a 9.95 ERA in his last four starts, going 0-3 in that span. Included in that is Ryu’s last start on Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies when he lasted just 4.1 innings while allowing six hits and three runs with five strikeouts and a season-high four walks.
Although it added to a string of subpar outings from the left-hander, it was surprising in that it came at Dodger Stadium. Despite the ongoing struggles, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts remains confident in Ryu.
“Not concerned. To expect him to go through a season flawless… (struggles) happen at times. Fortunately there’s plenty of time to kind of recalibrate and reset before we get to the postseason. Every start for these guys here on out, it’s important, and he’s aware of that. As far as concern, not concerned.”
Ryu’s workload could be playing a factor in the latest trouble. He has pitched 161.2 innings this season, which is the most for him since his rookie year with the Dodgers in 2013. He has dealt with a number of different arm injuries since then.
The Dodgers have discussed potentially skipping a start or two of Ryu’s down the stretch of the season to give him a chance to regroup, but as of now, Roberts is unsure what the plan will be for the southpaw moving forward.
“We’re going to see. Right now, physically, I know that he’s fine. We’ll have a conversation, but right now we’ll just kind of sit and wait,” Roberts said.
Before this recent poor stretch, Ryu was 12-2 with a 1.45 ERA in his first 22 starts of the season. That is the pitcher the Dodgers will need in the postseason if they want to return to and win the World Series for the first time since 1988.
If Ryu wants to get back on track, he will have to get his command back to where it was when he was dominating. The four walks in his last start were very uncharacteristic of him considering he only walked 11 total batters in 82 innings in his other 12 starts at Dodger Stadium this season.
Ryu threw a bullpen session between starts in effort to adjust his arm level and after not yet seeing it pay off, acknowledged it’s an area he will need to continue addressing.