Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Hyun-Jin Ryu will start Sunday’s series finale against the Cincinnati Reds. Rich Hill and Walker Buehler are slated to take the ball in the first two games at Great American Ball Park.
With two off days this week, Roberts took the opportunity to shuffle the deck in his rotation. It resulted in Kenta Maeda and Hill being swapped in the order, with the change providing the veteran left-hander with a week’s worth of rest between starts.
Meanwhile, Ryu will make his start on six days’ rest. He’s coming off an outing in which he threw a career-high 116 pitches to get through eight shutout innings. Roberts provided Ryu with a little extra leash in pursuit of a no-hitter.
Prior to the Mother’s Day outing, Ryu threw 93 pitches in a complete-game shutout against the Atlanta Braves on May 7. The decision to start Ryu in a road matchup with the Reds could be considered a mild surprise.
In three career starts in Cincinnati, he’s struggled to the tune of a 1-2 record and 5.06 ERA. Ryu last started at Great American Ball Park in 2018, when he allowed two home runs in five innings.
However, while there is no denying the 32-year-old is in the best stretch of his career, it’s Ryu’s ability to adapt that seemingly carried weight. “Hyun-Jin is in a really good place,” Roberts said.
“He’s a guy, if there’s anybody that can handle extra off days, a schedule that is not always consistent, it really doesn’t affect Hyun-Jin. Whether he’s rolling right now and pitching every fifth day or there’s a two-day extra rest, I don’t think it matters.”
With Ryu due to face the Reds, the domino effect would appear to result in Clayton Kershaw taking the ball in Tuesday’s series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. Kershaw has never pitched at Tropicana Field in his career and has only made one start against the Rays — allowing just two runs (one earned) over eight innings in a win at Dodger Stadium in 2013.
“We’re going to figure that one out,” Roberts answered when asked if Kershaw would pitch against Tampa Bay. After a full schedule through the first six weeks of the season, the Dodgers have four off days within a two-week stretch.
“When you’re playing well you want to keep rolling,” Roberts said. “I wish we could kind of stagger them out a little bit better. Our guys do a good job of dealing with what we can’t control, but it’s certainly not ideal. We could’ve used them in April.”