Dodgers @ Rockies April 7, 2017: Welcome back, Hyun-Jin Ryu

The Dodgers embark on their first road trip of the season that will see them travel to Colorado and the horrific Coors Field and Chicago to take on the world champion Cubs.

Dodgers
Rockies
1:10 p.m.
Denver, Colo.
2B
Forsythe
CF
Blackmon
LF
Gutierrez
2B
LeMahieu
3B
Turner
RF
Gonzalez
RF
Puig
3B
Arenado
1B
Van Slyke
SS
Story
C
Grandal
1B
Reynolds
SS
Hernandez LF Cardullo
CF
Pederson
C
Garneau
P
Ryu (L)
P
Freeland (L)

First up, though, are the Rockies and Hyun-Jin Ryu‘s season debut. This seemed like a pipe dream for most a month ago, but Ryu’s strong spring and good enough stuff has landed him the fifth rotation spot. He has thrown four MLB innings since Oct. 6, 2014, which was Game 3 of the National League Division Series.

He’s a long way from being the pitcher he once was. The odds are strong that he’ll never get back to that level, but he can still be a successful MLB pitcher. He’ll sit in the high-80s and touch 90-91 MPH, but where the improvement is going to have to come is with his command (which was already borderline plus) and his offspeed pitches. His curveball, slider and changeup are all legitimate pitches, and they’ll have to be even moreso with his decreased velocity.

I’m not overly concerned with the results of today’s outing by Ryu, mostly because he’s in throwing in Pitcher’s Hell. I’m more looking for how he looks physically and mechanically on the bump and his making out of this start healthy.

The lineup has a distinctly different look, as the Dodgers are taking on Kyle Freeland, a lefty making his MLB debut. Franklin Gutierrez moves up to the No. 2 spot with Corey Seager getting the day off. MLB home run leader Yasiel Puig moves up to the cleanup spot, while Scott Van Slyke starts for Adrian Gonzalez at first base (love this, by the way). Oh, and we have a Joc Pederson sighting against a left-handed pitcher. Woo!

The Rockies’ 1-5 is really, really strong. Mark Reynolds, despite being blind, as always been formidable against left-handed pitching. So, the Dodgers are probably going to have to wear their run-scoring shoes today.

——

One bit of news, because I wrote the thread before Dave Roberts had his media scrum:

Petey! Pedro Baez should rejoin the Dodgers next week. It’ll be interesting to see the corresponding roster move.

—–

Update

Because why not. We knew Rich Hill wasn’t going to be an iron man when it comes to making starts, but I would have expected his first DL stint to come a little later than after his first 2017 appearance. He’ll be eligible to come off the DL a week from Sunday. With the new 10-day rule, expect the Dodgers to abuse use it this season. Josh Fields will take his spot on the roster. It remains to be seen who gets Hill’s spot in the rotation, but I’d bet on it being Alex Wood. He pitched two innings of relief on Wednesday and is lined up to go on regular rest come Monday.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin’ Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif., and has yet to be shot.