The 26-year-old rookie pitcher from South Korea will start Sunday night in the Dodgers' first home playoff game since 2009. Los Angeles is looking to take control of the best-of-five National League division series after splitting the first two games in Atlanta.
The Braves are turning to their own rookie, 22-year-old Julio Teheran .
Ryu isn't a typical rookie, having brought a wealth of experience from his native country when he signed with the Dodgers last winter. Teheran more accurately fits the description, with just four major league starts under his belt before this season.
Both the left-handed Ryu and right-handed Teheran went 14-8 during the regular season.
Teheran will be facing the Dodgers for the first time. Ryu made two regular-season starts against the Braves, both no-decisions. He gave up one run in 7 2-3 innings the last time he faced Atlanta on June 7.
Ryu threw a bullpen session Friday in Atlanta, something he rarely did during the regular season. He hasn't pitched since Sept. 29."Typically when I rest longer than normal, I always squeeze in a bullpen just to make sure that my body is responding the way I want it to," he said Saturday through a translator.
Ryu drew an audience for the session that included manager Don Mattingly , and Stan Conte and Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the team's medical staff. Ryu missed a turn in early September because of a back ailment and went 2-5 with a 3.30 ERA over his final seven starts.
But Mattingly said there were no concerns about Ryu's health."He's been pitching big all year long," Mattingly said. "He's able to exploit anybody that we want."
The Dodgers signed Ryu to a six-year deal, making him the first player to go from the Korean Baseball Organization to the major leagues. They landed him after bidding $25.7 million to win exclusive negotiating rights with him. Besides his seven seasons in the KBO, he pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium as a reliever.
Ryu has the support of ace Clayton Kershaw , who pitched the Dodgers to a 6-1 victory in the series opener."We don't consider him a rookie," Kershaw said. "The way he carries himself every day, we're really not worried about composure or the adrenaline getting to him, or anything like that. He has such a great feel for his four pitches."
A.J. Ellis has caught Ryu all season long, with Ryu learning enough English to communicate during games."He never gets frazzled or out of sorts," Ellis said. "He's a guy who thrives in the big moment. This is definitely not going to be the biggest game he's ever pitched."
It may be among the most watched, though, because Game 3 will be seen in South Korea."It's a huge motivation to know that an entire country's going to be watching the game," Ryu said. "But equally important is the fans here at Dodger Stadium and the Korean community here. I understand there are going to be a lot of them coming out tomorrow, but it's a big encouragement for me."
Like Mattingly with Ryu, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez won't approach Teheran any differently just because he's making his postseason debut."I wouldn't even bring it up or anything," Gonzalez said. "He's going to go out and he's going to compete like he always has. If he gets his fastball command and throws the secondary pitches, he's going to be OK."
Teheran, who is from Colombia, came into his own this season after fleeting appearances in the majors the previous two years. He had a 2.97 ERA in the second half for the Braves, the only division winner to have a losing road record at 40-41."I feel really excited about this game," Teheran said. "I never thought that I'm going to be in this situation this year in my first year. But I'm just trying to calm down myself and be focused on the game and try to do the same thing I've been doing."
|September 26, 2013||Brian McCann||Day-to-Day||Right adductor strain|
|September 26, 2013||Jordan Walden||Day-to-Day||Groin|
|September 11, 2013||Paul Maholm||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|September 10, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right knee|
|August 29, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left hand injury|
|August 22, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Fractured right jaw|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|September 29, 2013||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Swelling in left ankle bone|
|September 26, 2013||Jerry Hairston Jr.||Day-to-Day||Back|
|September 25, 2013||Andre Ethier||Day-to-Day||Sprained left ankle|
|September 19, 2013||Adrian Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Quadriceps|
|September 02, 2013||Yasiel Puig||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right knee strain|
|August 04, 2013||Hanley Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Jammed right shoulder|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Dodgers fell behind early, took the lead, and let Atlanta tie it up. Then their big hitters cut loose.
Carl Crawford hit a three-run homer, Juan Uribe added a two-run shot and Los Angeles routed the Atlanta Braves 13-6 on Sunday night for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five NL division series.
Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig each had three hits and scored three times on a huge night at the plate for the Dodgers, who matched a franchise record for runs in a postseason game. Brooklyn beat the New York Yankees 13-8 in Game 2 of the 1956 World Series.
"It's 25 guys out there that we come here every day and we put in hard work on the field," Ramirez said. "Everything I do, I do for my team and for the city. When I see a big smile from my teammates and my fans, that makes me happy."
After losing 4-3 in Game 2 to let the Braves even the series, the Dodgers returned to the offensive form they showed during a 6-1 victory in the opener on the road.
"Guys were unhappy with the way they played, so we wanted to get back to playing the way we did the first game," Crawford said. "We knew it was going to be at home in front of our home crowd, and we were going to have some extra energy for that. Hopefully, we can like wrap it up while we're here at home."
Los Angeles can advance to the NL championship series with a victory in Game 4 on Monday night. Ricky Nolasco pitches for the Dodgers against veteran Freddy Garcia .
Crawford made the play of the game when he tumbled head over heels to catch an eighth-inning foul ball at the low retaining wall in left field. The speedy leadoff man also scored three times, including once in the eighth when the Dodgers made it 13-4.
"I'm fine. I landed in a way it didn't hurt," he said. "I didn't think the ball was going to go into the stands. It kept floating and I didn't see the wall coming. I felt myself flipping over. Good thing is I held onto the ball, so that's all that matters."
Chris Capuano won in relief of ineffective rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu in a game that took 4 hours, 1 minute. The 13 runs allowed by the Braves equaled the most in club history for a postseason game.
Atlanta starter Julio Teheran took the loss, giving up six runs and eight hits in 2 2-3 innings.
"He just left some balls out over the plate and made some mistakes," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "With this club, if you do that, you're going to look down at a gas tank with a lighted match."
Los Angeles rallied in the third to regain the lead for good after Atlanta tied it in the top of the inning. After that, the Braves didn't manage much besides Jason Heyward 's two-run homer in the ninth.
By then, it was way too late.
Teheran and Ryu both made inauspicious postseason debuts in the first matchup of rookie pitchers in the playoffs since 2007. Neither stayed around long.
In addition to being shaky on the mound, Ryu made two major mistakes in the field before giving way to Capuano, who spent most of the season in the rotation before moving to the bullpen.
With the Dodgers ahead by six runs in their first home playoff game since 2009, fans waved their blue souvenir towels with one hand and made chopping motions with the other in mocking Atlanta's trademark tomahawk chop.
"I didn't have my best, and I tried my best," the 22-year-old Teheran said. "It was just one of those games that you do everything, and the things don't go as you expect."
Ryu allowed four runs and six hits in three innings, becoming the first South Korean-born pitcher to start a postseason game in the major leagues.
Despite his rookie status, the left-hander brought a wealth of experience from his native country in becoming the first player to go from the Korean Baseball Organization to the majors. Besides his seven seasons in the KBO, he had pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium as a reliever.
"I felt a little more anxious than compared to those games," Ryu said through a translator.
Atlanta got to him with two runs in the first during another of Ryu's typically slow starts. Capuano came on to strike out three and walk three in three hitless innings.
Los Angeles extended its lead to 10-4 with four runs in the fourth. Ramirez had an RBI triple for his sixth extra-base hit in three postseason games, tying the club record set by Steve Garvey in four games of the 1978 NL championship series.
"I just kept telling him, `I want the whole world to see how good you are,"' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It's been good so far."
Puig added an RBI single and Uribe followed with a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw from reliever Alex Wood .
"With two outs there, if we get out of that inning, it's a whole different ballgame," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "But it just didn't turn out the way we wanted. Carl hit a slider that hung up a little bit more than we wanted and he put a good swing on it."
The Dodgers regained the lead 6-4 in the third on RBI singles by Adrian Gonzalez and Skip Schumaker . Ryu was lifted for a pinch-hitter later in the inning.
Atlanta tied it 4-all with two runs in the third after loading the bases with nobody out.
The Dodgers scored four times in the second to take a 4-2 lead, highlighted by Crawford's three-run homer with two outs. Ryu helped himself with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field - Justin Upton had to stretch out to keep the ball from going over his head.
NOTES: Dodgers C A.J. Ellis got hit on the left elbow by a pitch from hard-throwing Jordan Walden in the eighth, but stayed in the game. Ellis had X-rays after the game and said he felt fine. ... Capuano's only other major league win in relief came on Aug. 20, 2010, for Milwaukee. ... It was the first time in Teheran and Ryu's careers as starters that their pitching lines had more runs than innings. ... Teheran became the youngest pitcher (22 years, 252 days) to make a postseason start for the Braves since Steve Avery (22 years, 193 days) in the 1992 World Series, according to STATS. ... Among the famous faces in the sellout crowd of 54,646 were Sandy Koufax , Larry David, Eric Stonestreet of "Modern Family" and Dennis Haysbert.