The Los Angeles Dodgers conclude a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday with an opportunity to generate some momentum for what’s shaped up to be a pivotal weekend set against the Washington Nationals.
Prior to the Dodgers’ losing streak becoming their longest since 1944, manager Dave Roberts said Clayton Kershaw would not pitch in the series at Nationals Park. That’s still holding true even though the Dodgers moved Kershaw’s start against the Giants up one day.
Thus, it left Alex Wood, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda to take the ball this weekend. However, Hyun-Jin Ryu has now been named the starter for the series finale, replacing Maeda, according to Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu threw an extended bullpen session before Tuesday’s game and will start Sunday in Washington against the Nationals
Ryu was initially slated to start Monday’s series opener against the Giants, which instead went to Maeda. He surrendered two home runs and allowed four runs on four hits in just three innings. It’s plausible some of Maeda’s struggles were a result of the multiple rain delays.
Roberts explained the decision to skip Ryu this week was not health-related a simply done in order to provide him with additional rest.
Ryu allowed four runs on seven hits, and struck out four without issuing a walk but suffered the loss when he faced the Nationals at Dodger Stadium on June 5. Wood and Hill did not pitch during that three-game series.
With Maeda now pushed back, he isn’t expected to start until Wednesday or Thursday in the four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies that is at the end of the Dodgers’ road trip.
The Dodgers currently lead the Nationals by 4.5 games for the best record in the National League. That could grow to as large as six games, or shrink to three games come Friday’s series opener.