Tag Archives: Hyun-Jin Ryu

Is Greinke the early favorite for Cy Young?

LA Dodgers

Zack

Clayton Kershaw gets the majority of the attention nationally when it comes to the Dodgers starting rotation, and rightfully so. At the age of 26 Kershaw has multiple Cy Young Awards with a second place finish sandwiched in between. Over the past three seasons he’s been the most consistent starting pitcher in all of Major League Baseball. Kershaw’s greatness helps elevate the Dodgers starting rotation, when completely healthy, to arguably the most dominant group in all of baseball. This season though, Kershaw has been injured. In his absence the Dodgers rotation hasn’t skipped a beat. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren and Zack Greinke all boast ERA’s below three, with both Haren and Greinke among the lead leaders in earned run average, to go with a combined 9-0 record. After sweeping the Minnesota Twins the Dodgers are now just a half game behind the San Francisco Giants for the top record in the NL West. This performance owes greatly to the success of the rotation, particularly Greinke. Zack Greinke is no secret amongst national baseball fans. The thirty-year-old right-hander, who the Dodgers signed to a massive free agent contract prior to last season, has a Cy Young Award of his own. With Kershaw out Greinke has been the dominant starter the Dodgers needed.

Is Greinke the early favorite for the National League Cy Young Award?

la dodgers pitcher

Greinke

Greinke is not the only player off to a fast start. Jose Fernandez, Adam Wainwright, Tim Hudson, Johnny Cueto and Dan Haren are all off to impressive starts. None of the aforementioned list has accomplished what Greinke has over his last 18 starts. Including the postseason Greinke has won 18 of his last 21 decisions. In his last 21 starts the right-hander has pitched at least five innings and given up two runs or less. This streak is the longest in nearly a century, since 1917. It’s indicative of the incredibly consistency that Greinke has displayed during his time as a Los Angeles Dodger. In two seasons as a Dodger Greinke has a combined record of 20-4. Baseball writers often refer to top starting pitchers as “stoppers”, not in the sense of that they are closers, but pitchers who can be relied on to provide a quality start, often in the midst of a team’s losing streak or coming off of a loss. Greinke has been a true stopper this season. Of his five wins, four have come following a Dodgers loss. His ability to consistently turn around potential losing streaks has increased his value and should be a real factor in the early ranking of Cy Young contenders.

zack g

CY Young?

The Dodgers should get Kershaw back soon, after a second minor league rehabilitation start. When Kershaw returns Los Angeles will once again have the lefty/righty combination that harkens back to the days of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. When Kershaw returns he’ll join a starting rotation that’s been firing on all cylinders of late. Dan Haren, who’s signing many questioned, has been tremendous and seems to have reclaimed the form that made him a top starter over the past decade. Hyun-Jin Ryu continues to evolve into an elite left-hander, while Josh Beckett is showing signs of the form that made him a perennial Cy Young Award candidate in the American League.

They’ve all pitched well but the ace so far this season for the Dodgers has been Zack Greinke. If he keeps up his form the Dodgers may have another Cy Young Award winner to add to the long list of great Dodger starting pitchers.

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Chris M

NLCS Preview Los Angeles Dodgers Vs St Louis Cadinals

NLCS Dodgers Vs Cardinals

Dodgers Vs Cardinals

With the St. Louis Cardinals defeat of the Pittsburgh Pirates the National League Championship is set and will begin Friday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis with the Cardinals taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Down 2-1 in the NLDS the Cardinals won consecutive elimination games behind dominant starting pitching by Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright. The matchup between two of the most storied franchises in all of baseball is the first postseason series between the two clubs since the Dodgers swept the Cardinals in the 2009 NLDS. The two franchises boast seventeen combined World Series titles, with the Cardinals second all-time with eleven.

Here are three things to watch in the NLCS:

Elite Starting Pitching: The Los Angeles Dodgers boast arguably the top 1-2 pitching combination in all of baseball in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. The Dodgers twenty-five year-old lefthander Kershaw is the odds on favorite to earn his second Cy Young Award in four seasons.  Greinke, who the Dodgers acquired via free agency this offseason, has long been one of the dominant right-handers in the game and won 15 games this season against only four defeats with an outstanding 2.63 ERA.  In the Dodgers 3-1 series victory over the Braves in the NLDS Kershaw had two outstanding starts, striking out 18 batters in just thirteen innings pitched with just one earned run given up. Due to the Dodgers decision to start Kershaw in game four of the Braves series the Dodgers will start Greinke in game one, followed by Kershaw on Saturday.

The Cardinals have their own trio of outstanding starters in veteran ace Adam Wainwright and rookie Michael Wacha. Wainwright closed out the Pittsburgh series with a dominating start in game five. He’s joined in the rotation by Wacha who pitched seven perfect innings in Pittsburgh in game four before giving up a solo home run in the seventh inning. Wacha exited the game with just one hit allowed and one earned run in an incredibly boisterous road environment.  The twenty-one year- old was a late call-up who nearly pitched a perfect game during the regular season. The remainder of the Cardinals postseason roster is to be determined, with a choice between Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller.

The Season Series: The Dodgers took five of seven from the Cardinals this season including taking three of four in St. Louis in early August.  In the August series the Dodgers received outstanding starting performances from Ricky Nolasco, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke.  Ironically the lone Cardinals victory was the one game started by Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw gave up just two earned runs but the Dodgers were unable to provide their starter much run support, ending the Dodgers club record fifteen game road winning streak. In the first game of the series Greinke out-dueled Wainwright in a tight battle.

For the Dodgers to prevail they’ll need Nolasco and Ryu to recapture the form they showed during the late summer Dodgers hot streak. After being acquired by the Dodgers from the Marlins Nolasco was outstanding, but struggled at the end of the season, perhaps due to throwing so many innings this season. Ryu, the Korean rookie, had a strong regular season but struggled in game three of the Braves series. The playoff schedule may allow the Dodgers to go with a three-man rotation, but it’s likely they’ll have to start Nolasco in game four back in Los Angeles.  They’ll need the right-hander to recapture the form he showed right after his acquisition.

The Cardinals Lineup:  The Cardinals don’t have the superstar they once had in Albert Pujols, but do have one of the deepest and most efficient batting lineups in baseball. The Cardinals are third in baseball in runs scored and on base percentage and fourth in batting average. The Cardinals had five players drive in at least seventy-five runs this season, with four regulars batting over .300. Second Baseman Matt Carpenter led the NL in hits, batting .318. Superstar catcher Yadier Molina hit .319 with 80 runs batted in.  Molina is on track for his seventh gold glove. Allen Craig led the National League in batting average with runners in scoring position, hitting .315 with 97 runs batted in. Both Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran hit near .300 with between 22 and 24 home runs and 80 runs batted in. The Cardinals lineup will be a big challenge to the Dodgers pitching staff. One bright spot for the Dodgers is the Cardinals inconsistent offensive showing in the NLDS.  After leading the Cardinals all season in batting Carpenter hit just .067 in the NLDS with David Freese, Matt Holliday and John Jay also struggling at the plate.

The biggest key to victory for the Dodgers is getting off to a strong start in St. Louis, just like in Atlanta. If Greinke and Kershaw can be their dominant self the Dodgers have a strong opportunity to reclaim home field advantage upon their return to Los Angeles. The Cardinals are a battle tested club with significant postseason experience.  The spotlight won’t be too big for them and the Dodgers will face a hostile environment this weekend in St. Louis. With Wainwright starting game five the Dodgers have the luxury of avoiding the Cardinals ace in St. Louis. Wainwright will likely start game three in Los Angeles. The Cardinals game one and two starters are still to be announced but likely will be either Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller or Lance Lynn in game one and Michael Wacha in game two. Lynn struggled in game two versus the Pirates and Kelly and Miller both have very little postseason experience. The veteran Dodgers club may have an advantage versus the very young Cardinals rotation as the pressure gets ramped up even more in the NLCS.

Prediction: The Dodgers ride Kershaw and Greinke into the World Series, out-dueling the young Cardinals rotation. Dodgers win 4-2.

By:Chris Michaels