Athletics @ Dodgers April 10, 2018: Hyun-Jin Ryu looks to bounce back in 2nd start

Hyun-Jin Ryu needs to prove he’s still worthy of a rotation spot. Walker Buehler is lurking. (Photo: Stacie Wheeler)

The Dodgers (3-6) limp home after losing four of five games on the road, with one contest being washed out in San Francisco. The Oakland Athletics (4-7) come into town Tuesday and Wednesday for a brief two-game interleague series. The Dodgers look to make some progress despite the sporadic schedule, weather, and sicknesses in this early part of the season.

Athletics
Dodgers
7:10 PM
Los Angeles
SS
Semien
CF
Taylor
3B
Chapman
SS
Seager
2B
Lowrie
RF
Puig
LF
Davis
2B
Hernández
1B
 Olson
LF
Kemp
C
Lucroy
1B
Bellinger
RF
Piscotty 3B Forsythe
CF
Smolinski
C
Barnes
P
Manaea (L)
P
Ryu (L)

Hyun-Jin Ryu (7.36 ERA/6.00 FIP/2.73 WHIP) swaps start days with Alex Wood, who was victim to some bad sushi in San Francisco (not clam chowder). Ryu’s first start on April 2 didn’t go so well in the 15-inning disaster. The southpaw walked five, allowed four extra-base hits and only lasted 3 2/3 innings against the D-backs in the shaky outing.

Ryu has never faced the A’s in his career. Dustin Garneau did hit a home run against Ryu last year when he was with Colorado.

The Dodgers have also never faced left-hander Sean Manaea (1.15 ERA/2.84 FIP/0.51 WHIP). I hate to bring this up, but the Dodgers are struggling early on against left-handed pitching (.188/.281/.256/.538). When you’re dead last in the majors in OPS vs. LHP, you’re looking for something — anything — to give.

While Ryu didn’t last long in his first start of 2018 — and may have short leash in the homestand opener — Manaea has had two solid starts to open the season. He’s gone 7 2/3 innings and eight innings in his first two starts, respectively. The lefty struck out 11 batters and walked only one in those first two contests.

Matt Kemp is the only current dodger with a hit against Manaea. Small and early sample size warning aside, Kemp is hitting .444 with four hits including a double in nine at-bats against left-handed pitching so far this year. Cody Bellinger (.167), Yasiel Puig (.125), Enrique Hernandez (.077), Seager (.077) have not fared well against LHP. Logan Forsythe and Chase Utley remain hitless against lefties.

Oakland has several hitters who are hitting over .300 vs. LHP that Ryu should be wary of, including Jed Lowrie, Matt Chapman and Chad Pinder. Old friend Trayce Thompson is not in the starting lineup for the A’s.

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Although the season has felt like a slog so far, and Justin Turner‘s absence has been painful, there’s been some positives to take away. The pitching and defense have been good, with the bullpen stepping up admirably to eat some early-season innings when the offense clammed up, especially in those two extra-inning debacles.

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In other news, the Dodgers are going to host the 2020 All-Star Game! That’s pretty exciting considering a lot of fans, myself included, were too young or not even born when the ASG was last in L.A. back in 1980. I had the opportunity to go to the All-Star Game FanFest when San Diego hosted the Midsummer Classic in 2016, and it was a lot of fun. There will be an official press conference at noon pacific time on Wednesday from Dodger Stadium.

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This frustrating start to the season stings a bit more since the aftertaste of the World Series loss is still lingering. The offense has been brutal, and they’ve been shut out in three of their first nine games. It doesn’t make it easier to watch knowing that it’s only April 10. So, maybe score some runs?

About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler
Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation and Dodger Blue 1958. She currently contributes to The Hardball Times. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.