After two deflating losses to the Padres in extra-inning games, the Dodgers can’t afford to get swept on Sunday. The Giants have perked up, and they are now within 2 1/2 games of the Dodgers in the standings. Sunday will be the last game in August, and the Dodgers need to end the month on a winning note to carry the momentum into September.
Yasiel Puig finally broke out of his slump with a base hit. Matt Kemp had two hits, and Adrian Gonzalez had the big hit. Dee Gordon continues to struggle a bit here late in the season. Gordon went 0-for-5 on Saturday night with a strikeout. He failed to come through during a key situation with runners in scoring position as well.
Lineup:Puig CF Hanley SS Gonzalez 1B Kemp RF Van Slyke LF Uribe 3B Ellis C Barney 2B Ryu P
The Dodgers’ key to success is staying healthy. Even though there will be some reserves called up in September, the Dodgers will need Hanley, Gordon, and Puig to be playing to full potential. The Giants are not going to roll over easily, and their offense is more aggressive than the Dodgers’. Hyun-jin Ryu’s start could be an important one as the Dodgers try to stay healthy while fighting off their pumpkin-colored foes to the north.
Ryu spent 18 days on the disabled list with a strained glute muscle. Hopefully the injury will not be nagging. The Dodgers need Ryu in order to win a championship. Don Mattingly did not feel Ryu needed a rehab start before being activated to play for Sunday. The last time Ryu pitched in Atlanta, he left after 5 2/3 innings when he flinched in pain on the mound. Ryu took the loss after allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in the injury abbreviated start.
Ryu has pitched better on the road this season than at home. He is 9-3 with a 2.77 ERA in 13 road starts. His ERA at home is 3.94. The southpaw has dominated the Padres this season. Ryu is 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA against the Padres in 2 starts. Overall, Ryu is 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA against the Friars in 4 career starts. Two of those starts were at Petco Park as well. He’s only allowed 1 run at Petco Park ever.
Prediction: Darwin Barney base hit brings in a run for the Dodgers.
Eric Stults leads the league with 14 losses on the season. The Dodgers hope to make that number rise to 15. Stults lost last time out to Milwaukee, and he allowed 4 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings. Former Dodger Stults has never been very good. Let’s be honest here. He’s a lefty. So he shall pitch. The Dodgers have trouble against lefties, but Stults has mixed results against the Dodgers in his career with a record of 2-4 and ERA of 3.70 in 7 career starts against them. Stults has faced the Dodgers two times prior this season, and he is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in those two starts. A lot of the current Dodgers have hit Stults well in the past. Darwin Barney is hitting .429 against him with 6 hits including 4 doubles and a homerun in 17 plate appearances. Perhaps Barney will start in place of the struggling Gordon on Sunday.
Black and Blue Injury Update:
●Hyun-jin Ryu returns from the disabled list after nursing a strained right gluteus muscle. The injury was never considered serious.
●Juan Uribe returns to the Dodgers either Sunday or Monday. His hamstring injury seems to be healed.
●Chris Perez will be activated Monday. He was dealing with bone spurs in his right ankle.
The Dodgers will need to get this win on Sunday in San Diego before coming home to battle a tough Washington team. Hanley, who gets injured on a daily basis, will need to step up with a big month in order to catapult the Dodgers into October. After leaving Friday’s game with a leg injury, Hanley went 0-for-5 on Saturday.