Ryu's struggles at home magnified in loss to Rockies
Starter gives up six runs in five-plus innings to end losing homestand
LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies being the Rockies, it was absolutely fitting that they were across the field Sunday during Hyun-Jin Ryu's latest collision with Dodger Stadium.
Insane home/road splits?
Ryu has wowed 'em this year from Australia to Phoenix to San Diego. But in Dodger Stadium, suddenly, he's more vulnerable than Kleenex in a rainstorm.
The latest example came Sunday afternoon as Colorado pounded him, 6-1, the big blow coming on Josh Rutledge's three-run homer that drove Ryu from the game in the sixth inning.
It was a disappointing conclusion to a 10-game homestand that saw the Dodgers go 4-6. The offense is still misfiring at times, the bullpen -- particularly Brian Wilson -- didn't always have traction and some sloppy defense bit them at times.
"I can't say I'm totally happy," manager Don Mattingly said. "But I can't say I'm totally dissatisfied, either.
"We haven't played very well at home, which is kind of surprising. But that's going to change. I'm not going to panic."
Now the Dodgers leave for a 10-game trip to Minnesota, Miami and Washington, and at the rate Ryu is going, don't be surprised if he obtains his pilot's license before the team leaves Monday and is in the cockpit to steer the charter flight east.
In three Dodger Stadium starts this season, the second-year lefty is a tomato can in the ring: 0-2 with a smoldering 9.69 ERA. In three road starts, he's Cy Young: 3-0, 0.00.
You read that right: In 26 innings on the road this season, Ryu has yet to surrender a run. In 13 Dodger Stadium innings, he's surrendered 16 (14 earned).
"No particular reason," Ryu said through his translator afterward. "Coincidence. I'm sure one day I will get a win here."
For Ryu, Dodger Stadium suddenly has become as foreign as pitching on the moon.
Ryu made 30 starts in 2013, evenly split between home and the road. In 15 home starts last season, he was 7-4 with a 2.32 ERA. In 15 road starts, he was 7-4 with a 3.69 ERA.
Exact same record, and you need neither a calculator nor a Sabermetrician to tell you that Ryu's home ERA last season was more than a run better than his work on the road.
"He was not as sharp as we've seen him," Mattingly said. "He was just a little short on his fastball. Sometimes he pitches at 90, 91 mph, and he pitched at 87 today.
"He was not as sharp with his fastball, and when he doesn't have that it brings his changeup closer and makes him more vulnerable."
A sellout crowd of 52,359 was left to ponder Ryu's sudden home woes after the Rockies jumped on him for two runs in the second on Brandon Barnes' two-run single and another in the third when Charlie Blackmon doubled, moved to third on a bunt and then scored when Barnes was caught stealing second.
Ryu, who allowed baserunners in four of the six innings he started, appeared to tire by the sixth inning. That was when Justin Morneau doubled to start things and Nolan Arenado followed with a single.
That was about the time a scout noted on MLB.com's Gameday that Ryu's fastball velocity had dropped from a high of 92 mph to as low as 87.
Two pitches later, Rutledge sent an 89-mph four-seam fastball rocketing deep into the left-field pavilion.
"One of those days," catcher Tim Federowicz said. "He's been so good for so long."
Federowicz said it was difficult to tell immediately whether Ryu and his fastball were off.
"He's different every time," the catcher said. "Sometimes he'll work his way up there [in velocity], and sometimes he'll take a little off.
"It was a rough one today. He didn't have his best stuff."
What it all meant was that, for the second consecutive day, the Dodgers remained stuck at 9,999 wins in franchise history, putting No. 10,000 on hold until at least later this week in Minnesota.
As calculated by the Elias Sports Bureau, the Dodgers will join the Giants, Cubs and Braves as the only franchises in the Major Leagues to reach that mark.
That elicited a funny pregame moment with manager Don Mattingly, who assumed the Yankees would be included in that group.
Told that they are not, the former Yankees first baseman said, "That's cool. Hey, LA is on my hat."
Now, they'll carry that identifier east in search of better things. Just 6-9 at home so far this year, the Dodgers are 8-3 on the road. Which prompted infielder Justin Turner to smile in anticipation of touchdown in Minnesota on Monday.
"I can't speak for everyone," he said. "But I'm looking forward to getting on the road."