So now we know why Don Mattingly took out Hyun-jin Ryu. Earlier today I wrote an article outlining my take on the Dodger’s 3-1 loss to the Padres on Sunday night Baseball. I went over some of the reasons why the Dodgers lost that game, and some suggestions as to how they can improve in games like these. It’s always important to understand the why and the how the club lost in order to suggest correct adjustments.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
One of the topics I discussed was why Mattingly took out Ryu when he was pitching so well. Mattingly had removed Ryu after the seventh inning, and called in set-up man Brian Wilson to pitch the eighth inning. Wilson gave up a solo home run to Seth Smith, a two-run single to Chris Denorfia and failed to retire a single batter in the frame. Those three runs in the eighth blew what was a 1-0 Dodger lead at the time.
Ryu had thrown seven shutout frames, and after a shaky first two innings, settled down perfectly. Ryu allowed just three hits, and whiffed seven while making 88 pitches. He came out with a 1-0 lead. Apparently our good friends over at dodgersnation saw a tweet that I missed.
According to the article, Pedro Moura reported on twitter that Ryu had gone to Mattingly and asked to be taken out because he was tired. Mystery solved.
Now Ryu had only made 88 pitches so I made a stupid assumption that he couldn’t have been tired. Which was lame because I should know better. I figured Mattingly took him out because he likes to get a lot of relievers into games, or because of pitch count.
But that was not the case here. So I owe Donnie Baseball a bit of an apology on that one. But I was more miffed at the failed bunt attempts then the taking out of Ryu. Honestly I could at least somewhat understand bringing in Wilson. I mean after all, it is his job to pitch the eighth innings. But the bunting just infuriates me. Otherwise the rest of the observations, and suggestions I made still stand.
But Ryu really was tired, and that’s fine. The guys at Dodgersnation seem to be a bit worried about Ryu getting tired and pitching on Friday afternoon’s home opener. Ryu is scheduled to pitch the Dodger’s home opener against the Giants for the disabled Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgersnation has nothing to worry about though. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Pitcher’s fatigue can very from start to start, and pitcher to pitcher
What I mean by this, is that some pitchers get tired quicker than others. And some starts pitchers get tired faster than other starts. There are some nights a pitcher may get tired around 80 pitches, and then another night they can make over 100 without issue. It happens. That’s Baseball. Ryu feeling tired around 88 pitches doesn’t mean much. It’s early in the season. The Dodgers had an abbreviated spring, and the pitchers didn’t get the full amount of time to build their arm strength. Which brings me to my next point.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
2. The shortened exhibition season has affected the pitchers
Of course an abbreviated spring schedule affects the pitching. Pitchers don’t have as much time as they usually would with a normal schedule. Although I don’t believe the long plan rides had any effect.
3. The postseason run of 2013 is the real culprit
This is what I think has had the most effect on the pitchers. The deep postseason run last year put additional innings on the arms of the staff. Mainly, Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu started all the games. Take Kershaw, who led the league in innings pitched, and then add another four playoff starts and you have well over 250 or 260 innings on his arm. Ryu as well had already thrown 192 frames in the regular season, and he threw 11 postseason innings. That’s over 200 innings on his arm. Same type of thing with Greinke.
The added innings from the playoff run from last year combined with the abbreviated spring schedule, and you could have some tired rubbery arms in the first couple of weeks of the season. But this is normal for a club that reached the NLCS last year. Things will even out as the season progresses, and the pitchers will build up more arm strength.
4. Friday afternoon’s home opener is on normal four days rest
This is the biggest one. There’s no reason to worry here because Ryu will be pitching on regular rest when he takes the mound at Dodger Stadium versus the Giants on Friday. Plus the Dodgers have had a ton of off-days the last week. Including an off-day on Monday in the middle of their series against San Diego. I know he’s been asked a lot of late. Relax Ryu will be fine.
I just wanted to throw an apology Mattingly’s way, and put everyone’s minds at ease as far as the worry that Ryu’s arm might explode. Relax, it won’t. He’ll be fine, and so will the Dodgers. Plus Kershaw should be back before we know it.