Dodgers: Hyun-Jin Ryu is a Welcomed Luxury for the Dodgers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 26: Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning during the MLB game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium on April 26, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 26: Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning during the MLB game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodger Stadium on April 26, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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Hyun-Jin Ryu returned to the Dodgers by accepting the qualifying offer.  While he wasn’t necessarily needed, he is a welcomed luxury for LA.

When Hyun-Jin Ryu decided to accept the Dodgers’ qualifying offer and return to Los Angeles for another season, the Dodgers’ rotation was given another luxury.  While the Dodgers didn’t necessarily need Ryu, he gives them another top-tier starting pitcher who easily slots in as one of their five best starting pitchers.

One added benefit of Ryu returning has been his inning-eating ability.  Through six starts, Ryu has made it through six innings four times and one of the two he didn’t he left one out shy of making it through the sixth inning.  The other start that Hyun-Jin failed to pitch at least six innings, he left the game early with a groin injury.

On the season, Hyun-Jin Ryu has a 3-1 record with a 2.96 ERA.  At home, Ryu has been dominant as usual posting a 3-0 record with a 2.25 ERA.  The opposition has hit just .240 against him at Dodger Stadium.  On the road, Ryu has been less effective posting a 4.91 ERA in two starts, one of those being his injury-shortened start in St. Louis.

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Last postseason, Ryu started game one of the NLDS against the Braves, knocking Clayton Kershaw down to the number two spot in the playoff rotation.  The move was a smart one as Ryu delivered a strong start giving the Dodgers a 1-0 series lead with Kershaw slated to go in game two.  Unless things go horribly wrong, the Dodgers will once again be in the postseason and Ryu should be slated for another postseason start at Dodger Stadium.

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s postseason career is interesting as he pitched in the 2013 and 2014 playoffs but did not appear in another postseason game until 2018.  In the playoffs last year he was excellent at home but struggled at Milwaukee and Boston.  That inflated his playoff ERA to 4.11 but even in the postseason, Ryu was much better pitching at pitcher-friendly Chavez Ravine.

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The Dodgers have a track record of success bringing Asian pitchers to the big leagues and they have two in their current rotation with Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu.  If this is Ryu’s last season with the Dodgers, he will leave with solid numbers and the only knock on him being injuries.  The Dodgers did not need Hyun-Jin, but there is no doubt they are better off with him than without him.