I keep worrying that Hyun-jin Ryu is going to just blow up at some point, as we wonder about his velocity and teams getting multiple looks at him, and maybe he will. But I also know that we’re into the second week of August, and after seven innings tonight allowing zero earned runs, he’s got an ERA of 2.99 and a FIP that is close enough to backing that up at 3.28. There’s only 22 starters with ERA marks that start with 2; there’s only 25, including him, with a FIP of 3.28 or better. (Sidenote: one of those guys is former Dodger Eric Stults. Baseball just owns sometimes.)
I’m not quite ready to call Ryu an “ace”, because I honestly don’t feel that he is, subjective as that term may be. But I think we can all agree that he’s far exceeded even our wildest expectations at this point, and it may only be due to the fact that Yasiel Puig exists (along with one of the most ridiculous rookie classes in recent history, including Jose Fernandez & Shelby Miller) that prevents Ryu from winning the Rookie of the Year award. Over his last three starts, he’s struck out 22 against a single walk, and over his last 2.98 starts — note: made-up math — he’s struck out 22 against zero walks, since he started off his outing against Cincinnati on July 22 by walking Shin-Soo Choo.
Of course, after all that praise of Ryu, it’s not his picture you see at the top of this post, it’s A.J. Ellis, who crushed a ball off rookie St. Louis starter Carlos Martinez, inexplicably left in by Mike Matheny even though it was clear he was gassed. We’re just shy of the two year anniversary of Ellis’ first career homer, which also came in the fifth inning of a game in St. Louis back in 2011, though off of Jaime Garcia. Ellis’ blast brought in Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier, and while Jerry Hairston had a big pinch hit in the eighth, it was Ellis who put the game away.
Puig, by the way, had three more hits, and while two were of the infield variety, one was of the “I’m going to line a golf drive to left field, yes, left field, and beat it out for a triple” variety, because that’s a thing that you can do now, apparently.
Kenley Jansen was used to finish it out in a non-save situation because… well, I’m not sure, really. Because he hadn’t pitched in any of the first three games of the series, I suppose, but you’d think a four-run lead is why Brandon League or Carlos Marmol exist, with Jansen ready to come if needed. Anyway, he was not scored upon — because: awesome — and finished off a perfect game of sorts, retiring 27 in a row by getting the first two before allowing a single to David Freese.
With Arizona off tonight, the Dodgers pick up a half-game to move to 5.5 games up in the West after winning seven of eight on the swing through Chicago and St. Louis. They return home for what looks to be an incredibly interesting series against Tampa Bay. Chris Capuano, who has been oddly very good lately, faces David Price, who has been incredibly good with no “oddly” attached, tomorrow night. Can’t wait for James Loney to hit three homers, you guys.