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Ryu nabs NL ERA title; is it enough for CYA?

Los Angeles ties franchise record with 105th win
@kengurnick
September 28, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched the Dodgers to their 105th win on Saturday, tying the franchise single-season record and providing more ammunition for Dave Roberts in his new role as Ryu’s Cy Young Award campaign manager. Roberts said he’s concerned that an East Coast bias will deliver the trophy

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched the Dodgers to their 105th win on Saturday, tying the franchise single-season record and providing more ammunition for Dave Roberts in his new role as Ryu’s Cy Young Award campaign manager.

Roberts said he’s concerned that an East Coast bias will deliver the trophy to Jacob deGrom of the Mets. Ryu -- who edged deGrom to win the National League ERA title (2.32 vs. 2.43) in the Dodgers’ 2-0 win over the Giants at Oracle Park on Saturday afternoon -- muddied his manager’s talking points by saying he thought deGrom deserved the award.

Box score

“It’s a very tough question, obviously,” said Ryu, 14-5 after firing seven scoreless innings. “I honestly think Jacob deGrom deserves it. Considering all of the metrics, he had an incredible year, especially innings and strikeouts. Those two are really important factors. But I'm not saying you should vote for him. It was more of a suggestion. You still have the vote in your hand. ... I usually don't like to vote for myself in anything."

deGrom, last year’s Cy Young winner, threw more innings (204 vs. 182 2/3) with more strikeouts (255 vs. 163). deGrom’s WHIP was 0.97, Ryu’s 1.01. Both were All-Stars this year, with Ryu getting the start. Ryu’s club won its division, deGrom’s missed the cut.

There’s plenty to chew on in what figures to be a tight race. Roberts said having to pitch in Coors Field (which Ryu did twice, allowing seven runs in 10 innings; deGrom did not) should be taken into consideration.

Never mind the Cy Young. Ryu said just winning the NL ERA title is beyond any expectations he had entering the season. The Dodgers have won seven of them this decade -- five by Clayton Kershaw, one by Zack Greinke, and now Ryu’s.

“Rather than the ERA title, coming into the season I was more concerned with my health,” said Ryu. “I wanted to make 30 starts and I made 29 starts, so I got close. The ERA title is a gift and surprise, not something I was looking forward to coming into the season. This year is successful regardless if I get the Cy Young or not. It’s a testament to my hard effort.”

Successful is an understatement. After a 9-1 start, then a six-week winless streak that ended last week, Ryu is back on track. And he’s swinging a lethal bat, following up his first home run last weekend with a fifth-inning RBI single that broke the scoreless tie.

“He was really keeping them guessing the whole time,” said Russell Martin, who resumed catching Ryu on Saturday after rookie Will Smith had a couple turns. “It was the regular Hyun-Jin we’re used to seeing. Command trumps stuff. When his command is on, he’s one of the best in the game. I don’t know what all his numbers are, but I hope he wins it. He deserves it.”

That’s what Roberts is talking about.

“It was really fun to watch him. This is as good as he was the first half, really,” said Roberts. “Every manager has their biases. Don’t want to bash another player. I just think the opponents, [pitching] in Colorado twice. Given who he’s had to face, I do think you dig deeper in the numbers, things can be turned over and reveal that our guy should win the Cy Young.”

Roberts also said his club should take a bow for the record-tying 105 wins, with a chance for one more on Sunday. The Dodgers are tied in wins with Houston, which has the tiebreaker edge for World Series home-field advantage between the clubs.

“You don’t just show up and win 105 games against very good teams all year long,” said Roberts. “It’s a credit to everybody. The consistency of what we’ve done speaks to those players.”

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.