Pretending I’m Not Worried About Hyun-jin Ryu’s Bullpen Session

October 5, 2013 at 9:13 am | Posted in Chris Capuano, Hyun-jin Ryu | Leave a comment

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I wanted to do a review of whether Dee Gordon was safe his in steal attempt in the ninth inning last night, but Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News did such a thorough breakdown (as did Eric Stephen at TrueBlueLA) that I’m not even sure what I’d add, other than to say this: the play was so, so close that after dozens of replays, I still can’t say definitively whether he was safe or out. That being the case, it’s hard for me to rip the umpire for the call he made. Dodger fans think he was safe, Braves fans think he was out, and everyone’s got a little bias. There’s no guarantee that Gordon would have ended up scoring, anyway.

Due to the loss — which again, is largely on Don Mattingly, but not entirely —  Sunday’s Game 3 takes on all that much more importance. Hyun-jin Ryu against fellow rookie Julio Teheran is a really good matchup, because both have had solid debut seasons and will probably finish in the 3-5 range in a stacked NL rookie field. Over Ryu’s last five starts, he’s got a 21/4 K/BB; over Teheran’s, it’s 30/6 (though Ryu has done slightly better at keeping run off the board).

After two days of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and the likelihood of Atlanta throwing out Freddy Garcia in Game 4, this is probably the only one in the series where I don’t feel the Dodgers have a clear pitching edge, and… what… what? No.

For example, Ryu worked out this week with a compression sleeve on his left elbow. He also threw a bullpen session Friday with team surgeon Neal ElAttrache, medical director Stan Conte and manager Don Mattingly watching.

Ryu generally does not throw bullpen sessions between starts, and especially not two days before a start. He appeared to throw without discomfort.

I don’t want to cause a panic, because clearly I’m no doctor and I’m not in the room. But as that Ken Gurnick quote indicates, this is a guy who almost never throws bullpen sessions. When he does, I’m thinking it’s safe to guess that he usually doesn’t do so with one of the most renowned surgeons in the country watching him. So I don’t think it’s unfair to wonder if A) he can even go and B) what sort of strength he’ll be at if he can. It’s not exactly the conversation you want to be having tied at one in a five-game playoff series.

Backup catcher Tim Federowicz caught that session and reported it was positive…

…but while that’s nice to hear, you don’t really expect the catcher to come out and announce to the world that the Game 3 starter is falling apart and has nothing on his pitches. (I’m not saying that’s the case, of course; Ryu might very well have been throwing well. Just saying that Federowicz can’t really be taken at face value here.)

If not Ryu, then we’re probably looking at Chris Capuano, who hasn’t started since going only 1.2 innings on September 6 before leaving with a groin injury, his 92nd injury of the season; when he returned, Edinson Volquez had essentially taken his job. Now Volquez isn’t on the roster, and Capuano is a massive step down from Ryu, should that be what happens. (Ricky Nolasco could also move up from Game 4, if it is determined that Ryu needs an extra day.)

As I head off to the airport to see Game 3, I’m more than a little curious about who I’m going to see on the hill.

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