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Hyun-jin Ryu & limiting the running game

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers turn to Hyun-jin Ryu on Saturday, looking for to set a new career high with his 15th win in the middle game of a weekend series against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Part of Ryu's success in the major leagues, both this year and last, has been essentially eliminating the running game.

Ryu last allowed an opposing runner to steal a base on June 11, and that was Billy Hamilton of the Reds.

In each of his last 12 starts, Ryu hasn't even allowed an attempted stolen base. But that has been the norm since joining the Dodgers. In 54 starts with the Dodgers, opposing base stealers are 3-for-6 in trying to steal, including 2-for-3 this season.

During that time Ryu has faced 1,378 major league batters, and has allowed 480 stolen base opportunities (defined by Baseball-Reference as a runner on first or second base with the next base open). Only once every 80 opportunities have runners even tried to steal against Ryu, and only half of those have been successful.

The ones who have run on Ryu:

  • April 30, 2013: Dexter Fowler steals third base
  • May 5, 2013: Andres Torres picked off, caught stealing second
  • Aug. 19, 2013: Donovan Solano caught stealing second base
  • April 17, 2014: Hunter Pence steals second base
  • April 27, 2014: Brandon Barnes caught stealing second base
  • June 11, 2014: Hamilton steals second base

The thought of eliminating the running game came to the forefront this week when Sam Miller and Ben Lindberg discussed Royals starter Yordano Ventura on the Baseball Prospectus Effectively Wild podcast on Wednesday.

Ventura is a true anomaly, at 167⅓ innings into his career without allowing a single stolen base attempt, the longest such streak to begin a career dating back to at least 1980.

Outside of Ventura, among pitchers to have faced at least 700 batters over the last two seasons, only three others have allowed as few as six attempted steals besides Ryu: Chris Capuano (2-for-4), Nathan Eovaldi (2-for-6) and Randall Delgado (5-for-6).

Ryu has faced the Diamondbacks twice this season and hasn't allowed a run in 12 innings, though the last time he faced them was April 11. In seven career starts against Ryu, no Arizona player has attempted a stolen base.

Chase Anderson starts for the Diamondbacks. The 26-year-old rookie has allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 10⅓ innings in two starts against the Dodgers this season, with six walks and six strikeouts. He has allowed three home runs in those two starts - to Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford.

Anderson, for his part, has allowed only two stolen bases in three attempts in his brief career, in 419 batters faced and 152 stolen base opportunities.

Game info

Time: 6:10 p.m. PT

TV: SportsNet LA