Something Has To Give; Hyun-jin Ryu and Dodgers Need To Avoid Sweep


Hyun-jin Ryu (3-1, 3.35) vs. Matt Cain (0-2, 6.49)

Updated Dodgers Lineup: vs. Giants

Crawford 7Punto 4Kemp 8Ethier 9A.J. Ellis 2Uribe 3Cruz 5Gordon 6Ryu 1

After two consecutive heartbreakers where the San Franciscan catchers came up with walk-off homeruns off the Dodger bullpen, the Dodgers will be trying to avoid a probable sweep at the hands of their foes. Yesterday the Dodger offense led by the return of Dee Gordon was productive, and the epic fifth inning rally was quite a memorable frame. Yet the pitching wasn’t able to corral the aggressive bats of the Giants, and the World Champs ultimately honed in on struggling Dodger closer Brandon League in the bottom of the tenth inning. After a back and forth swapping of lead changes throughout the lengthy game, it was none other than Guillermo Quiroz who blasted the winning shot off League. Quiroz who? I had never heard of Quiroz before last night, but I think we all will now know the name. League has been ineffective to say the least, but it was also Don Mattingly‘s questionable choice to have League pitch a second inning instead of bringing in the best relief pitcher out of the pen, Kenley Jansen. Mattingly also blundered earlier in the game by asking resident Giants masher A.J. Ellis (who hit a homerun earlier in the game) to bunt in a key situation. Of course the bunting backfired and spurred the inevitable double play.

May 4, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Guillermo Quiroz (12) celebrates after hitting a walk-off home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the tenth inning at AT

This evening in a nationally televised game, the Dodgers will try to stave off a three-game sweep at AT&T Park. They will have Hyun-jin Ryu on the mound who has been nothing short of spectacular in this his “rookie” season for the Dodgers. Last time out against the Rockies, Ryu struck out a career high 12 batters in six innings of work. He only allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in the win against the Rox. On April 2nd Ryu lost to the Giants after allowing 1 run on 10 hits with 5 strikeouts and a walk in 6 1/3 innings pitched at Dodger Stadium during his MLB debut. The southpaw has struck out 46 batters in 37 2/3 innings pitched thus far which is tops for rookie pitchers. Ryu has pitched better and better as the season has progressed. His dominance has been one of the few bright spots so far during this frustrating start to the season.

Matt Cain will be countering Ryu, and the right-hander is still looking for his first win on the year. Cain has had a rough start to the season, and he has already allowed nine homeruns. Last time out against Arizona, Cain allowed

Hyun-jin Ryu has the second most strikeouts on the Dodgers with 36. Photo: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

4 runs on 5 hits with 6 strikeouts and 4 walks over 6 innings in the no-decision. He allowed three homeruns in the fourth inning of the game against the D-backs. Cain is 4-8 with a 3.27 ERA in his career against the Dodgers. Adrian Gonzalez has plagued Cain in the past, and Gonzo is hitting .400 with 4 homeruns and 12 RBIs against him. Andre Ethier has also given Cain a hard time, and Dre is hitting .435 with a homerun against the struggling righty. Cain faced the Dodgers on Opening Day where he allowed 4 hits and struck out 8 over 6 shutout innings in the no-decision.

The Dodgers will need to utilize Dee Gordon’s speed, capitalize on Ryu’s dominance, and take advantage of Cain’s struggles in order to avoid the sweep. The Giants’ starters have not won a game since Barry Zito‘s win back on April 21st against San Diego.

Mark Ellis will not play today, and Monday will finally come the decision whether he is headed to the DL. The second baseman has been sitting out with a quad strain. Adrian Gonzalez, who suffered a stiff neck after colliding with an umpire, was unable to play the last two games. Gonzo, who has had much success against Cain, should be back in the lineup today. Jerry Hairston Jr. said he tweaked his groin last night, but he insists it’s “minor.”

Tune into ESPN at 5:00 p.m. for the finale of the series between the rival Dodgers and Giants. We will have our postgame coverage following the game. The Dodgers will return home to play the D-backs tomorrow night.