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By Jon Weisman
Last year, Clayton Kershaw went 19 innings before allowing his first run of the 2013 season. Hyun-Jin Ryu is approaching that neighborhood.
You can start the early campaign: Hyun for Cy Young.
Before Brian Wilson allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning in the Dodgers’ 3-1 loss to the Padres (recapped here by Ken Gurnick of MLB.com), Ryu followed up his five shutout innings in Sydney with seven in Sydniego. It was a performance that quickly went from struggling to sterling, putting to rest any post-Australia concerns about toeture.
Struggling with location in the first inning against the Padres, particularly on outside pitches, Ryu loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. But the lefty turned Yonder Alonso’s comebacker into a 1-2-3 inning-ending double play.
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After allowing singles to the first two batters in the bottom of the second inning, Ryu went into high gear. He retired 16 batters in a row into the seventh inning, walked Tommy Medica, then drew his second double play, a 3-6-3 special off the bat of Will Venable.
Despite throwing 21 pitches in the first inning, Ryu finished with only 88, meaning he averaged 11.2 pitches over the final six innings. Staked with only the one run the Dodgers got in the fifth inning off Padres starter Andrew Cashner, he needed to be that good.
In his 12 innings this season, Ryu has allowed only five hits while walking four and striking out 12. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Ryu is the eighth pitcher in Dodger history and fifth in Los Angeles to pitch at least 12 innings of shutout ball in his first two starts of the year.
Having left his infielders with almost nothing to do in the Australia start, Ryu instead starved his outfielders tonight. Yasiel Puig caught two flies, Carl Crawford one and Andre Ethier none.