Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers insist he's healthy after rocky start

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday marked the first time the Dodgers won a game in which their starting pitcher lasted no longer than three innings since bailing out Tim Belcher in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

LOS ANGELES -- The speculation leading up to Sunday, coupled with Hyun-jin Ryu's poor start in Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Braves, has many concerned that the Dodgers left-handed pitcher is injured. But Ryu and the team are adamant that is not the case.

"He was fine," said manager Don Mattingly. "If there had been anything physically wrong, we wouldn't have let him pitch today."

"There was absolutely no injury whatsoever," Ryu said after the game, through interpreter Martin Kim. "Of course, there was anxiety and I was a little bit nervous taking the mound. I felt a little more anxious than compared to [World Baseball Classic and the Olympics]. Today was a little bit more intense."

The early jitters are nothing new for Ryu, who allowed 17 first-inning runs in 30 regular season starts this season. on Sunday he allowed two more, but the Dodgers responded with four runs of their own in the second inning. But instead of settling down like he has so many times before, especially at Dodger Stadium, Ryu had a bad third inning, too.

"I didn't sense anything physically from Hyun-jin to make me feel he was injured, from my perspective," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "It was more about execution."

Ryu was asked if injury concerns before the game distracted him during the game.

"There was absolutely no injury whatsoever." -Hyun-jin Ryu on his Game 3 start

"No [distractions], none whatsoever. I was fully confident that my body was fine. I know myself better than anyone else if I'm not hurt," Ryu said. "It doesn't matter what people say. I'm not hurt so it wasn't a distraction at all."

Ryu ended up allowing four runs on six hits in three innings, his shortest start of the season by far.

"There was really no swing and miss tonight. His velocity was okay. It seemed like he touched 93, and we've seen him starting out at 90, 91 which is pretty normal for him. He just dind't seem to have that same finish and be able to locate," Mattingly said. "You know, it was just one of those nights."

Mattingly said Ryu will remain in the Dodgers postseason rotation going forward.

"We don't turn our back on guys that have had great seasons for us after one game," Mattingly said.

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