It’s been three weeks since Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu has taken the mound in a real game.
His first game back just happens to be the most important game of the Dodgers season thus far— Game 3 of the NLDS. The NL West champions are tied 1-1 with the St. Louis Cardinals after splitting at home. They will need to win at least one on the road to at least guarantee a fifth game back at home.
According to Mark Saxon of ESPN LA, the second-year starter is ready to go:
I feel very confident right now,” he said through an interpreter at the Dodgers’ optional workout at Busch Stadium on Sunday evening. “My arm feels really good. My shoulder feels really strong, and I have a pretty good feeling I’ll be able to put in a good game tomorrow.”
This is the second year that Ryu will be pitching Game 3 in a series against the Cardinals. Last year he threw seven shutout innings at Dodger Stadium to give the Dodgers their first win of the series. More of the same will be needed in order for the Dodgers to control the series and decide how they want to play things out.
The guy who will be catching Ryu, A.J. Ellis, also believes his starter is back from injury:
He feels like he’s back close to 100 percent, and he’s going to be a big factor for us hopefully getting to where we need to go,” catcher A.J. Ellis said. “We definitely need him throwing a lot of innings for us this next month.”
Ryu missed time earlier this year with similar irritation in his shoulder. He missed the same amount of time and returned to throw six innings and allowed two runs in his first start back. The left-hander will be facing off against right-hander John Lackey and the Dodgers will need Ryu to be sharp.