With the Los Angeles Dodgers having lost starts by Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw and their offense lacking any punch, they needed a pitcher capable of putting up a lot of zeroes against the St. Louis Cardinals.
They had the right man for the task on Monday night and after a 3-0 win in Game 3, they now trail the NLCS 2-games-to-1.
Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed only three hits to earn the win.
RyuRyu became the fourth pitcher in Dodgers history to throw at least seven scoreless innings and allow three hits or fewer in a postseason start. The other three are Don Drysdale (1963 World Series against the Yankees), Sandy Koufax (1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins) and current ESPN broadcaster Orel Hershiser (1988 World Series against the Athletics).
Ryu threw only 48 fastballs among his 108 pitches (44 percent), a rate well below his 54 percent fastball usage this season.
His other 60 pitches were offspeed, including 34 changeups (he had a season-high usage rate of 32 percent with the pitch). That netted him six outs (including Jon Jay’s fly-ball double play) and yielded no baserunners.
Ryu was also tough deep in counts, retiring 14 of the 16 hitters against whom he got a two-strike count. In his previous two starts, he allowed seven two-strike hits and a pair of two-strike walks, but only retired 10 of the batters he faced.
The Cardinals are hitting .134 (13-for-97) through the first three games. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that is the lowest batting average for any team through the first three games of an LCS since that round began in 1969.
It surpassed the .155 by the 1969 Twins against the Orioles in what was a three-game Orioles sweep.
Yasiel Puig bounced back from his golden sombrero (four strikeouts in four plate appearances) in Game 2 to go 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI.
Longest Scoreless Streak
Single Postseason, Dodgers Hitters
This was the second time this postseason that a player had a Golden Sombrero then came back later in the series with a key hit.
Austin Jackson had a four-strikeout game in Game 2 of the ALDS for the Tigers against the Athletics, but came back to have the go-ahead hit in the Tigers' win in Game 4 of that series.
Hanley Ramirez played with a fractured rib after missing Game 2 and came through with an RBI hit.
Ramirez is hitting .455 with seven RBIs in six postseason games. The Dodgers are 55-28 combined in the regular season and postseason when he starts this season, 41-45 when he doesn’t.
Jay continues to have a bad run of defensive misplays in center field. He had a multitude of issues in Game 3 most notably a double that fell between him and Carlos Beltran in a two-run fourth-inning and two plays in which he got a glove on a ball, but couldn't make the catch.
Worst Defensive Runs Saved Total
CF in 2013
Jay previously had trouble in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Pirates, when he misplayed a Pedro Alvarez double in the second inning and in Game 1 of the NLCS when he took a bad angle trying to get to Mark Ellis’ 10th-inning triple.
Jay was charged with -10 Defensive Runs Saved in 2013, tied for fourth-worst among centerfielders.
He wasn't the only culprit. Baseball Info Solutions, a video-scouting service that tracks every play in every game, credited the Cardinals with nine Defensive Misplays & Errors, tied for the most by any team in any postseason game in the last eight postseasons.
Tough loss for Wainwright
Adam Wainwright allowed two runs in seven innings in suffering his first career postseason loss (he’s now 4-1 for his career).
Wainwright joined Bob Gibson as the only Cardinals pitchers to have four straight postseason starts of seven innings or more, allowing two runs or fewer.