Hyun-Jin Ryu reported to camp at Camelback Ranch lighter this season and put up a 2.20 ERA in four Cactus League starts with 10 strikeouts and three walks in 16⅓ innings. As we saw with Clayton Kershaw's 9.20 spring ERA, March exhibition stats don't mean a whole lot, but from an execution standpoint Ryu has felt comfortable all spring with his performance.
Ryu, through translator Martin Kim, told reporters before this morning's opener, "If there is one difference I can mention, it's probably the fact that I'm more prepared this year than last year."
The team's formula is pretty simple and was followed to a tee on Saturday's opener: get good starting pitching, score a few runs, and hand the back end of the bullpen a lead to close out the game.
The Dodgers were fourth in the National League with 93 quality starts in 2013, including 22 by Ryu that tied for eighth in the circuit. Their record when receiving a quality start (65-28, 69.9%) was better than the rest of MLB as a whole (1,612-851, 65.4%) last season.
Ryu faced the Diamondbacks five times in 2013, and the Dodgers were 2-3. Ryu was 1-2 with a 4.65 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 31 innings, and had four quality starts against Arizona, though three were of the minimum six-inning, three-earned-runs variety.
Trevor Cahill is 6-0 with a 2.01 career ERA in 10 starts against the Dodgers, with 42 strikeouts and 24 walks in 62⅔ innings. His teams are 8-2 in those 10 starts, nine of which have come in the last two seasons since he joined the Diamondbacks.
Among the current Dodgers Cahill has handled are Juan Uribe (1-for-10), Hanley Ramirez (2-for-12, double) and Andre Ethier (4-for-21, two doubles). Adrian Gonzalez has had success against Cahill, going 9-for-20 (.450) with two doubles and a home run. A.J. Ellis is 7-for-21 (.333) with a home run against Cahill, while Dee Gordon is 2-for-4 with a walk.
Cahill, who averaged 19 quality starts in his first four seasons, had just nine quality starts in 25 starts for the Diamondbacks in 2013. Three of those came against the Dodgers.
Ryu was 5-for-10 (.500) with a double, a triple and a walk at the plate against the Diamondbacks in 2013, and 7-for-48 (.146) with two doubles and a walk against everyone else. Ryu was 0-for-1 against Cahill, but he did walk.
Time: 7:18 p.m. PT
TV: SportsNet LA locally, MLB Network nationally (blacked out locally)