On Monday, the Nationals Park was filled with the waves of red jerseys, rooting for the hosts the Washington Nationals of the Major League Baseball. The 40,000-strong crowd burst into roars when their team led the game 2-0 thanks to the consecutive hits by Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto in the bottom of the 4th inning.
The enthusiasm didn’t last long, however. Ryu Hyun-jin, the cold-headed control master of the Los Angeles Dodgers, proved to be a killjoy for Nationals fans at each juncture.
The Dodgers defeated the Nationals 10-4 in Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on Sunday (local time). The Dodgers are on an advantageous position against the Washington where one more win will advance them into the Championship Series. Ryu won the game, allowing four hits (one homer), two walks, and two runs through five innings.
It was Ryu’s signature change-up that contributed the most to his win. The South Korean used 32 changeups out of the total amount of pitching at 74 (43.2%). The increase of changeup ratio was remarkable, almost doubling from regular season (27.5%). Out of the 15 outs Ryu closed on the day, nine came from his changeups, fooling seven batters with a swing and a miss. The only hit he allowed with a changeup was from Soto in the entire game.
Russel Martin, Dodgers catcher and a great partner of Ryu, supported the Korean pitcher’s win as batter too. When the Dodgers were losing the game 1-2, Martin set the condition of a winning pitcher for the Korean, blasting a two-run hit in the 6th inning. In the 9th inning, the versatile catcher sealed the win for his team with a two-run homer. With a regular season batting average at 0.220, Martin dominated the game with two hits and four RBIs from four at-bats, proving himself to be a seasoned player.
Manager Dave Roberts’ tactics paid off too. Known for a weak bullpen, the Nationals sought to prevent further losing of points by sending in Patrick Corbin in the 6th inning. But the Dodgers sealed the victory with designated hitters David Freese and Enrique Hernandez helping their team score seven points in the 6th inning alone.