Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Ryu steady, but old issues return for Dodgers in 5-4 loss

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

By Jon Weisman

Gonna get the positive out of the way first, if you don’t mind.

Does Hyun-Jin Ryu get enough appreciation? He is just so solid and, it appears, almost completely unflappable.

After a first-inning double and a Carlos Triunfel error that put runners at the corners today, Ryu struck out Cleveland’s No. 4 and No. 5 hitters.

After a fourth-inning home run by Ryan Raburn gave the Indians a 2-0 lead that some fans no doubt thought was insurmountable, Ryu stranded runners in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

Ryu doesn’t always threaten to throw a perfect game the way he did on Memorial Day, but let’s talk consistency and minimizing damage. Since April 27, Ryu’s ERA has not gone below 3.00 or above 3.33.

Thanks largely to Ryu, the Dodgers were able to stay in today’s game long enough for a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth to take the lead — a rally that was keyed by Ryu’s RBI double, the fourth straight hit by Dodger pitchers in the past 24 hours. Andre Ethier then had a clutch, 2-2 count, two-out, two-run single, Ethier’s third big hit in the past four games.

The Dodgers took that 3-2 lead into the eighth inning, after Ryu called it a day, having allowed seven hits and no walks in seven innings while striking out eight. Ryu helped the Dodgers tie the modern Major League mark of 36 consecutive games with two or fewer walks by their starting pitchers.

* * *

Unfortunately for Ryu and the Dodgers, Brian Wilson’s extended run of recently effective relief hit a speed bump — with the Indians tying the game in the eighth on two walks and a pinch-hit RBI single by David Murphy, then taking the lead on a two-run single by Mike Aviles — and the Dodgers lost their second straight game for the first time in three weeks, 5-4.

Wilson had been unscored upon in 18 of his past 19 apperances, with 13 hits and seven walks in 16 2/3 innings against 18 strikeouts and two inherited runners stranded. But he got in trouble with an early season bugaboo — walking the first two batters he faced.

[mlbvideo id=”34236477″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]

Similarly, while Miguel Rojas had a dazzling spear of a line drive at third base (above) and right fielder Scott Van Slyke threw out a runner at home, this was more of an April game defensively for the Dodgers than what they’ve been producing lately. In addition to the aforementioned errors, Triunfel had a dropped throw on a stolen-base attempt and didn’t turn to catch a throw by Matt Kemp to third base in that troublesome top of the eighth (a throw that Kemp said afterward was his responsibility).

And still, the Dodgers nearly did pull this one out.

In the bottom of the eighth, Scott Van Slyke hit his seventh homer of the year — his first against a right-handed pitcher — to pull the Dodgers within a run. And then in the ninth, after pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez walked with two out, Ethier worked the count from 0-2 to 3-2 before slicing another big hit, a double to left, sending Ramirez to third. (Note: The Dodgers were out of pinch-runners at this point, except for pitchers.)

Needing a single to tie or perhaps win the game, Kemp hit the ball hard, but it was flagged down on the warning track in right-center, and that was that.

“Obviously, you don’t want to not win,” Dodger manager Don Mattingly said, “but I’m not frustrated with our effort at all, and our energy.”


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  1. Dodgers were NOT out of pinch-runners! Drew Butera was going to have to enter game anyway as A.J. Ellis’ replacement, so why couldn’t he have run for Ramirez? Mattingly blew it by allowing Hanley to stay on basepaths. If not Butera, why not one of the more athletic pitchers, like Greinke? Mattingly should not be frustrated about Dodgers’ effort or energy, but Dodgers and their fans should be frustrated about Mattingly not making the right call — again.

    • Rick Monday rhetorically asked if a healthy Butera is faster than Hanley with a bad calf. I think he was hinting that Butera wouldn’t have scored either. Nothing wrong with sticking in a pitcher to run. Come on Haren you were a hitter in college. Steiner said Hanley had no lead at all. Yeah I think it would have been wise to stick someone else out there.

    • trublu4ever

      I agree 100%. However, every time I mention Donnie making another mistake, I get dumped on by many people. I’ve thought all along that he is NOT the right guy to manage our team.

  2. Triunfel hurt the Dodgers in many ways.3 KO.2errors.Mattingly went with Wilson too long.Steve Wonder could see that Wilson didnt have it today.The startin pitchers been great but the bullpen is still walking to many and blowing saves.

  3. oldbrooklynfan

    It was a game the Dodgers could’ve, should’ve almost won but didn’t. Wilson was probably due for a bad outing and had one. It’s good that the Giants also lost and it’s almost like yesterday never happened. Well today’s another day in Colorado.

    • I would suggest that Wilson’s recent numbers are supported by pitching into some good luck as opposed to being efficient and effective. Every time he is in the game it is worrisome as he is primarily a nibbler of the strike zone. His ball/strike rate as well as his BB rate is not something that we can depend on in the 8th inning. Mattingly would be wise to use him as a match-up reliever just like everyone else not named Jansen.

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