Dodgers: Limiting Lefties has Been Key for Hyun-Jin Ryu
Hyun-Jin Ryu is having a career season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. What has made him become so much more effective in 2019?
Dodgers’ crafty southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu is having a career season in 2019. It was a season not many saw coming. While he was dominant when healthy in 2018, he has taken his dominance a step further in 2019 and is the favorite to start the all-star game for the NL squad. Ryu has a career ERA of 3.00 and this season he has an ERA of 1.48.
Even in his strong 2018 campaign, he was a much better starting pitcher at Dodger Stadium. Last year he had a dominant 1.15 ERA at Chavez Ravine and a solid 3.58 ERA on the road. In 2019, Hyun-Jin has been dominant wherever he has pitched posting a 1.01 ERA at Dodger Stadium and a still dazzling 2.22 ERA away from LA.
The one area where Ryu has greatly improved this season is holding down left-handed batters. Over the last three seasons, left-handed batters have had more success against Ryu hitting to a slash line of .297/.362/.515. That is more success than right-handed hitters have had with their slash line being .235/.288/.404.
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The 2019 season has been a reversal of fortunes and Hyun-Jin has been masterful against all batters but even more so against lefties. Two plus months into the season, left-handed batters are hitting just .178 against Ryu with an abysmal .450 OPS. Combined with his pinpoint control and rare free passes, lefties have gotten on base at a microscopic .176 clip against Ryu.
Another big factor in Hyun-Jin Ryu’s dominant season has been limiting damage when runners are in scoring position. He has allowed just two base hits with runners in scoring position this season. Four of his six home runs allowed have come with nobody on base. Whenever runners do get on base, Ryu has become even more dominant.
Two plus months into the season, there has not been a better starting pitcher in baseball than Hyun-Jin Ryu. It will be a treat for Dodger fans to see how the rest of his season plays out. He has evolved from a crafty left-handed starter into a modern-day Greg Maddux. Ryu will once again be a free agent this winter and if he keeps this up he could enter it with a Cy Young award added to his list of achievements.