LOS ANGELES -- If you’re wondering how Hyun-Jin Ryu will pitch under the pressure of his first postseason, consider that in 2008, he pitched a 1-0 shutout over Canada to help the South Koreans win the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. By doing so, Ryu got out of two years’ military service.
“That’s very important to them, because in two seasons they can make a lot of money,” said Korean reporter Junki Hong of the daily newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
A better question might be whether Ryu is entirely sound physically, though the Dodgers say he is. He threw a bullpen session under the watch of team physician Neal ElAttrache in Atlanta. If Ryu gets hurt or has a short outing tonight, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that the first man out of the bullpen likely would be Chris Capuano, who has pitched two innings since Sept. 6 after coming off the disabled list for a groin injury.
If the Dodgers lose tonight, there is doubt about who would pitch Tuesday’s elimination game. Ricky Nolasco is scheduled to start, but it’s probable the Dodgers would go with Clayton Kershaw on short rest, then, if they win, bring back Zack Greinke on normal rest for Game 5 in Atlanta.
Mattingly didn’t sound 100 percent committed to Nolasco in Game 4.
“Right now, Ricky is the pitcher,” Mattingly said.
Nolasco, a six-year veteran, also has never pitched in the postseason, which is not surprising since his former team was the Miami Marlins. Nolasco said he would understand if he’s bumped in favor of Kershaw, who is about to win his second Cy Young award in three seasons, barring a major upset. Kershaw struck out 12 batters over seven innings to pick up the win in Game 1.
“This isn’t about me. This is about the team,” Nolasco said. “Whatever decision they make is going to be the best decision for the team.”