Greater Worry—Max Muncy or Hyun-Jin Ryu?

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As has long been tradition with such a storied organization, the Dodgers have one of the best, if not the best pitching staff in the Major Leagues. The Dodgers have a League leading 3.39 ERA, lowest WHIP at 1.11, and have given up the least amount of earned runs.

Three starting pitchers for Los Angeles are in the top 10 in ERA for the majors, in Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, and Walker Buehler. While all three have had some hiccups throughout the year, it is Ryu who is currently showing some cause for concern.

Ryu started out strong, and had an ERA throughout most of the summer that was closer to 1.00 than 2.00. He had a bad outing in Coors Field that most assumed was an anomaly because, Coors. But he’s allowed 18 earned run in his last three outings, seven runs in each of his last two games.

At this point, Ryu has pitched more innings than he has pitched since 2014. A lot of that is due to his injury history, where he’s missed some to all of the last 5 seasons due to shoulder and groin issues. Ryu has also tried to combat the bigger workload by not throwing bullpens between starts, and it seemed to have been working well.

There is a lot of speculation as to if Ryu is quietly nursing an injury, because the last three outings have been so jarring. And even more that he will soon be on the IL with an ‘injury’ of some sort, so he can give his arm some rest before the playoffs. The Dodgers will have no problem staffing the mound for the next month, with Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May pitching well. It would thwart their respective moves to the bullpen, but they could maybe handle another start each. Ross Stripling will also be returning on September 1st, adding another arm to the rotation.

For his part, we know what the issue is with Max Muncy. He was hit by a pitch in San Diego, and as of this writing, still hadn’t had a proper scan of his forearm to see just how bad the damage is and how long he might be out. After Wednesday’s game, Muncy felt that he was hit in the same spot that Chris Taylor was, and if it happened to be same recovery time, would keep him out about a month. That would put him back right for the start of the playoffs, and with no guarantee that his bat would be hot.

Again, the Dodgers could absorb his loss in the lineup and in the field for the next month easily. If there is any silver lining, it comes at an opportune time with the rosters expanding. It may very well force the issue of whether Gavin Lux will just be an observer or pressed into service. Taylor and Enrique Hernandez are both back from their injuries, and David Freese will be back when rosters expand also to help Matt Beaty cover first.

Whatever is it, the Dodgers need The Korean Monster and their Funky Muncy to be back and healthy before the playoffs start in earnest. They quite possibly could handle one or the other not being back or at their best. It would be very tough to have to deal with both not being able to produce. But the one thing the Dodgers have in spades is depth, and let’s hope that’s not truly tested in October.

19 thoughts on “Greater Worry—Max Muncy or Hyun-Jin Ryu?

  1. It’s great to have a gigantic division lead at the All Star break but no matter which guys we have on the playoff roster (who is injured, which youngsters make the roster, etc.), the bigger question is definitely this: Can a team that has been cruising for half a season, suddenly turn on the after burners for the playoffs? There is something to be said for having to battle your way in and being sharp when you get there. I guess we’ll know in about a month.

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  2. Max with a small fracture in his wrist. All things considered I’ll take that as good news. He should be good to go in about 3 weeks.

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  3. There is truly no reason not to bring Lux up now with the huge hole to fill with Muncy’s playing time. What if the kid just keeps hitting bombs likes he’s done all year? That would be something beneficial to have in the postseason. It’s time. It’s past time actually. What over ballclub does anyone know that wouldn’t have already promoted their top prospect hitting .400 in AAA?

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    1. I agree Alex. Why wouldn’t they bring up Lux. Well, because they already have 4 second basemen?

      To the question addressed in the thread title… greater worry, Muncy or Ryu, in my world it’s Ryu. Because it has been for me all year. As you know I’ve more or less been expecting this out of him. As they say – history is prologue. Is it going to continue? I don’t know but from my perspective, which is my recliner reading box scores and articles on the subject, I don’t take the chance. I give Ryu some time off. Muncy has a fracture, the degree of which I don’t know but from what I’ve read it’s not that serious. He should be back by late September and in the mean time there are a lot of things he can do to remain sharp. Ryu looks fatigued. The worry with him is he has reached his inning limit. He could be the car that ran out gas on the last lap.

      Last night – another late unearned run. Achilles heel? No big deal when we score 9. 11 more strikeouts. 5-5 in last 10. It would appear we are on cruise control at 55, can we floor it late September? Yeah, sure. Maybe. We are now behind both NY and Houston. Atlanta is only 6 games back. You don’t think…….. nah.

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    1. Surely you jest? Joc is not hitting a lick and he is striking out a lot more lately. Muncy was in a funk and had been striking out a lot too, so maybe this break is a good thing for him. My concerns are the bullpen, which we all know is not close to hitting on all cylinders. Ryu, might be showing signs of fatigue. He has been missing his spots. He has also been the receiver of some really bad luck. It all evens out over a long year. I think and believe this team has enough playoff experience where they know the game is a lot different come playoff time. They will have no problem getting hyped up for the games. What I would like to see is Cody hitting the ball with some authority. He has not been hitting many balls all that hard lately. Less K’s would be nice. On a sad note, they finally released the cause of death for Tyler Skaggs. A mixture of opioids and alcohol was the culprit.

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      1. I wondered what it was. Certainly is terrible for the family. Took long enough to get the word out. Opioid abuse. Hard to talk about it without sounding political. Suffice to say we are staggeringly stupid when it comes to dealing with our nation’s many dysfunctions.

        Joc at first. Yeah. Ok. Just another example of our wtf defense. It’s first base. Don’t matter. Catch the ball, step on the bag. Don’t throw anything across the baseline. Can you remember all that Joc? Probably not.

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  4. Dodger prospects are doing well. For those of you who wondered, OKC will not be in the playoffs. They were eliminated quite a while ago. Royals are being sold to a KC business man. Talk about a return on your investment, bought for 96 million, sold for 1 billion. I would love to see them call up Lux. They can DFA White, who was one of AF’s many failed experiments. I see some changes on the horizon this winter. One guy on a different site seems to think the Dodgers will pursue Rendon this off season, me, no way that happens. He is going to be one of the more expensive free agents around and his agent is Boras. And JT is under contract through next year. But in my eyes, they have to settle the infield log jam. Freese will no doubt retire after the season is over. They have numerous players who are super utility, The outfield will have to be addressed too. Joc will no doubt be trade fodder again, simply because of the contract status of Pollock and the emergence of Verdugo, who has showed he can handle the load.

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  5. That was my part of the argument since Rendon turns 30 during the season next year. Plus they do not have the need. This person also suggested Turner move to second, but JT is 35 next year. I do not think he has the range to play second anymore. Bellinger not in the starting lineup tonight.

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    1. IF (and that’s a very big if) they would ever sign Rendon, JT would probably move to first, not second. He couldn’t play second well when he got to L.A. That’s why they moved him to third.
      With Boras as his agent, I think we could easily sign Rendon if we’d be willing to give him a 15 year contract. Question is, will he still be a good third baseman at the age of 45? Of course, by that time the NL will have the DH. Problem solved!

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  6. Ryu’s out pitch is his changeup. But for the change to work, the fastball needs enough juice to keep hitters honest. Ryu throws a below average fastball on the best of days, but as the season wears on, the fastball loses a little zip, which makes both the heater and the change more hittable. the Dodgers should put Ryu on the shelf for a few weeks to get some life back in the arm. I love Ryu’s moxie, but he needs to be 100% to be effective.

    The bigger problem is the bullpen. Jansen gave up another jack tonight and there’s no reason to think he’ll right the ship before the playoffs. Roberts may have to make a hard decision in the next few weeks about his closer. Problem is, as happens every year with the Dodgers under Roberts, the bullpen has been overused and will be on fumes come October. I think Gonsolin, May and Stripling will need to step up for the Dodgers to have a chance at the title.

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    1. To my knowledge, no one on the current 40-man roster has MLB experience as a closer except Kenley. If they plan to continue running Kenley out in the 9th for the month of September in the hopes that he’ll straighten himself out, that could lead to disaster in the playoffs because no one else will have had a chance to get used to the role. I suggest that they begin experimenting with a number of guys as closer, using Kenley, Baez, Kelly and possibly some or all of Urias, Maeda and Gonsolin for the last month of the season. If someone stands out, he becomes the closer for the playoffs. If no one stands out, we pray.

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    2. I agree Utek. Jacuzzi time for Ryu. If he’s not right for the playoffs it really weakens our rotation. And frankly after last night, Kershaw doesn’t look right either.

      The bullpen wasn’t addressed at the deadline. Jansen’s ERA is pushing 4 now. It’s my opinion, as good as they have looked, to expect rookies to step up and perform in the playoffs is risky. Maeda and Stripling aren’t the answer.

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