For the first four hitters of today’s sellout matinee against the Pirates, there was concern. Hyun-jin Ryu had allowed Starling Marte to lead off with a single, then after a Neil Walker popout, Andrew McCutchen took Ryu deep for a quick 2-0 lead. Ryu responded by walking Gaby Sanchez, and you started to get the feeling that this was going to go nowhere good.
Maybe one day that’ll happen, but not today. Ryu got ground outs from Michael McKenry & Pedro Alvarez to end the inning, then shut the Pirates down into the seventh inning, throwing 101 pitches and retiring 18 of the last 20 men he faced. Through 12.2 innings as a Dodger, Ryu’s allowed just three earned runs, striking out 11. We’re going to need a lot more than two starts to know what we’ve got with him, but I tell you this: I’ll take “pitches into the seventh, allows two earned runs” from Ryu every time out and be very happy to get it. That’s especially the case when the bullpen continues to be as dominant as it has been; Ronald Belisario, Matt Guerrier (who lasted just two hitters in his season debut) & J.P. Howell combined to shut the Pirates out for the final 3.1 innings.
Even better, for once this game wasn’t entirely won on the strength of pitching. Adrian Gonzalez singled three times, driving in four. Carl Crawford, continuing his torrid start, had two hits and scored twice.Matt Kemp reached twice, including a double, and also drove Crawford home on a sacrifice fly. Even the much-maligned Justin Sellers managed to break his oh-for-the-season streak with a no-doubt seventh-inning longball. (Here’s looking at you, Luis Cruz.)
Frankly, I’m sad to see the Pirates leave town, because they’ve lost nine in a row at Dodger Stadium. (They’ve also scored only eight runs all season, which, yikes.) After a day off tomorrow, they head to San Diego, and I don’t want to say the Padres without Chase Headley & Yasmani Grandal are bad, but…
If this holds up, the #Padres 1-5 start will be their worst start after 6 games since 2002 (1-5) and the 6th worst start in club history.
— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) April 7, 2013
Oh, and Matt Cain got completely lit up for the Giants today. It’s a fun, fun time to be a Dodger fan.