LOS ANGELES, May 29, 2013 — Hyun-Jin Ryu was nearly unhittable for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night against the Anaheim Angels. The left-handed rookie from South Korea threw his first career complete game shutout as the Dodgers beat the Angels, 3-0.
The slumping Matt Kemp was dropped down to fifth in the batting order for the first time this season. Adrian Gonzalez hit third, while Andre Ethier was in the cleanup spot.
Josh Hamilton was a late scratch from the lineup for Anaheim due to back spasms. He was replaced with J.B. Shuck in left field.
Hyun-Jin Ryu stole the show in a game that lasted only two hours and 11 minutes. From the first inning, Ryu was in control, switching speeds and, at times, making hitters look outright foolish. In the ninth inning, Ryu followed a 93 mph fastball with a 75 mph change up. He struck out seven batters while walking none.
The inning that both Mattingly and Ryu said they thought a complete game shutout was possible was after the seventh inning. Trout led the inning off with a strike out, Ryu’s fifth. Pujols blooped out to Mark Ellis at second. Then Trumbo ended the inning by grounding out to short.
To start the ninth inning, Ryu faced pinch hitter Brendan Harris. He not only struck Harris out looking, but Ryu struck him out looking on a pitch that made Harris jump back. Ryu struck out a total of seven batters. Erick Aybar and Mike Trout both grounded out to end the game.
Ryu induced 14 groundball outs compared to just six in the air. After the game, Ryu said, “Today is a really good day. To be honest, I didn’t think my first complete game shutout would come this soon in the season, but I trust my teammates. We have a good team behind me. I was just really comfortable today.”
Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo combined to go 0 for 10 at the plate. Trout also struck out. Ryu threw 113 pitches, which was the second highest pitch count this year. He threw 114 on May 11 against the Miami Marlins, but lasted only 6 2/3 innings in that game.
“He’s just fun to watch, just from the change of speeds standpoint. I like watching guys that are really good. It’s not just like here’s 99, try to hit this. It’s really more like it’s more of an artist for me watching him be able to throw the ball to both sides of the plate, be able to pitch inside, be able to use his change up, use his curveball at times,” Mattingly said of Ryu. “It’s fun to watch. It’s really the art of pitching more than just a guy that you’re looking at radar guns. It’s fun to watch.”
The Dodgers’ first two runs came from an unlikely source. Juan Uribe led the fifth inning with a single. The next batter, Luis Cruz, homered to deep left field. It was the first homerun of the season for Cruz, who is batting just .114 so far this year.
Before Tuesday’s game, Mattingly said there is nothing physically wrong with Kemp. Then in his first at-bat, Kemp was hit by a pitch on the inside of his right elbow. Kemp remained in the game, but asked to be taken out just before the ninth inning because he had some numbness in his right fingers.
Asked if an MRI would be needed for Kemp’s elbow, Mattingly responded, “I don’t know. I haven’t heard any of that. I hope it’s nothing that’s gonna get to that. It’s something that probably has some inflammation in there. He got hit pretty good, actually. Right away he was hurt.” Mattingly expects Kemp to play tonight.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Kemp hustled out a double on a hit most players would likely let settle for a single. It looked like Kemp had double on his mind from the moment he made contact. He then scored from second on an A.J. Ellis single.
In the top of the fourth inning, Ryu was hit on left foot by ground ball up the middle. The pitcher made the play to first, but was noticeably hurt by the ground ball after the play. After the game, Ryu said he did think the bone was hurt at all, but the foot was wrapped in ice.
When asked about Ryu, Mattingly joked, “If we continue to get shutouts, I know we’re gonna fight our way back. If we do that daily for 30, 40 days in a row, we’re gonna be alright.”
Hanley Ramirez took batting practice, ran the bases and took ground balls at shortstop before the game. Manager Don Mattingly said Ramirez could be sent out on a rehab assignment as early as tomorrow or Friday.
The Dodgers and Angels head down to Anaheim for a two game set starting today.
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