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Ryu Hyun-jin to determine Dodgers’ fate

Posted October. 14, 2013 05:24,   


“A crisis is an opportunity.”

This is the situation facing pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin, who will start at the National League Championship Series of the U.S. Major League Baseball at 9:07 a.m. on Tuesday (Korea time). The L.A. Dodgers is on the brink of precipice. Despite good pitching by its ace pitchers Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, the team suffered two consecutive losses with 2-3 and 0-1 against the Saint Louis Cardinals. Ryu will start his team’s third showdown against the Cardinals to face off pitcher Adam Wainwright, the flagship pitcher of the National League. Wainwright, who had 19 wins in this year’s regular season, is the Cardinals’ undisputed ace pitcher who clinched victory at the first and fifth games versus the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Division Series.

Before the Champion Series began, many experts predicted the Dodgers would lead in starting pitchers, while the Cardinals would be better in bullpen. But the Dodgers had complete losses in both starters and bullpen in Games 1 and 2. The Dodgers led the Cardinals in hits and runs in the two games, but lost the games due to lack of concentration.

Ryu has overwhelming burden as the starting pitcher of the third game. If it loses the third game, the Dodgers will more likely end up concluding the series with losses in all four games. The Dodgers are also having a string of its players suffering injuries again as in the beginning of this season. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez and center fielder Andre Ethier failed to play in Game 2 due to waist pain and recurrence of ankle injury, respectively. Whether they will be able to play in the third game will only be revealed on the day of the game. Ryu is facing the most burdensome starting since he went pro in 2006.

Ryu, who has had a deep slump in the Division Series, has nothing to lose. If he wins in the faceoff with Wainwright, he has much to gain, and even if he loses, it will not draw much attention. Since the Dodgers’ two ace pitchers had losses, the third starting pitcher has a 50-50 chance to win. Strictly speaking, Wainwright and Ryu belong to two different classes in the Major League. Ryu should generate a stage to regain his lost ground in the third game. If he slumps in two consecutive games of the post season series, he could earn the unwanted label “underdog in big games.” What is clear is that if he allows the first score, he will have little chance to win. If Ryu repeats his first inning jinx in the faceoff with Wainwright, he will soon end up losing the game. The Cardinals has such strong bullpen pitchers.