Ryu and Padres lead Dodgers back to respectability

The Dodgers started the week 5 – 9 and in last place in the NL West. They ended it 10 – 10 winning five of six games, and Hyun-Jin Ryu was a big reason why. Ryu got the Dodger week started on the right foot by winning Tuesday night. That was a win that even Wilmer Font could have produced since the Dodger offense exploded for ten runs. The big win, however, came this Saturday when Ryu outdueled Steve Strasburg pitching the Dodgers to a 4 – 0 victory.  Coming right after Max Scherzer had shut down the Dodger offense and beat Clayton Kershaw the outstanding game by Ryu couldn’t have come at a more critical time. Ryu has made three straight scintillating starts and right now is pitching better than anyone else in the rotation.  For a guy who was supposed to be the weak link in the rotation, Ryu has instead shown why the Dodger rotation is still the best in baseball.

Date    Opp  Rslt   IP  H ER BB SO GSc IR
Apr10   OAK  W4-0  6.0  1  0  1  8     77
Apr16   SDP W10-3  6.0  3  2  0  9     67
Apr21   WSN  W4-0  7.0  2  0  3  8     78
              3-1 22.2 11  5  9 27     65

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2018.

Enough can’t be said about how the Padres helped the Dodgers out. The Padres have some young talent, their minor league system is bubbling with outstanding prospects but none of that talent is currently in the major league rotation and the Dodger offense was able to take advantage scoring thirty runs in just three games against the beleaguered Padre pitching staff.  All this spring I had been hearing about the ultra prospects Fernando Tatis Junior and Luis Urias, but in this series, they showed off two talents in Christian Villanueva and Franchy Cordero who surprised me. It is easy to write off Villaneuva as a fluke but he was very impressive to me and just might be their 3rd baseman of the future right now.  Franchy not only has the best first name in baseball but he also might be the real deal for them,  giving them someone to help setup the table for Hosmer along with Margot.  The rotation, however, is punchable, and the Dodgers knocked them out each game.

The offensive leader for the week using fangraphs wOBA and wRC+ metrics was surprise.

…………………………………………….Kiké Hernandez…………………………………………..

Enrique Hernandez 13 0.571 275 1 0.538 0.818 3 2 0.455
Matt Kemp 14 0.489 220 2 0.357 0.846 3 6 0.385
Yasmani Grandal 29 0.461 201 1 0.448 0.625 5 11 0.333
Corey Seager 30 0.407 164 0 0.433 0.5 5 4 0.333
Joc Pederson 17 0.403 162 1 0.412 0.5 5 2 0.286
Cody Bellinger 28 0.375 142 1 0.357 0.542 7 4 0.25
Chris Taylor 30 0.327 110 0 0.333 0.407 5 0 0.259
Kyle Farmer 10 0.318 104 0 0.4 0.375 0 2 0.25
Chase Utley 16 0.299 91 0 0.375 0.308 2 2 0.231
Austin Barnes 6 0.27 72 0 0.333 0.2 2 0 0.2
Max Muncy 16 0.245 55 1 0.25 0.357 2 2 0.143
Yasiel Puig 23 0.216 35 0 0.261 0.19 1 2 0.19

Yeah, I thought it was going to be Matt Kemp or Yazmani Grandal. Complete shocker. Of course Grandal had twice as many plate appearances so he certainly had more of an impact on the week.  Everyone but Chase Utley, Puig, and Barnes enjoyed an above average week.

Somehow Joc Pederson had more at-bats than Matt Kemp. Joc hit a home run on his birthday and had his best week of the young season. The two-headed leftfielders put up some great numbers for the week.  I can’t say I’m a big fan of how Dave Roberts is currently using Matt and Joc but I also have to admit it is kind of working. For a week anyway.  Joc hitting a home run off of Strasburg was way more impressive than Matt Kemp hitting two home runs against the Padre pitchers. Yeah, it was.

Max Muncy won the bat flip of the week with his first home run as a Dodger. He looked like someone who had been doing this for a while not someone who had just hit his first Dodger league home run and only his sixth major league home run at the age of 27. Muncy also made the surprise defensive play of the week when he backhanded a ball that carried him into foul territory and fired a bullet to nab the runner. I was not expecting him to be that nimble but what I really didn’t expect was the arm.  I doubt Max will be around long but he’s been fun to watch even though he hasn’t done much with the bat since that home run.

If it seems like the bullpen outside of Jansen and Alexander had a fantastic week,  it is because they did. The Dodgers used nine pitchers out of the bullpen this week and six of the nine got thirty-seven outs without giving up any runs. Cingrani and Liberatore led the left-hand crew by recording 16 outs, eight by strikeout, just one walk, and just zero hits. Scott Alexander might be the one heading to AAA instead of Liberatore who looks like the guy from 2016.

Jansen was at his worst last Tuesday blowing another save, but looks to have turned things around this weekend. He’s still not the Jansen we know and love but at least he’s getting outs and stopped walking folk.

It was a good week, and now the Dodgers get the Miami Marlins whose rotation could easily be replaced by the Dodgers AAA rotation.

And I mean that seriously.



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