Zylbert: Is Hyun-jin Ryu Worthy of Game 1 NLDS Assignment?

Zylbert: Is Hyun-jin Ryu Worthy of Game 1 NLDS Assignment? article feature image

Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (99) reacts during the fourth inning against the New York Mets at Dodger Stadium.

Betting odds: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Over/Under: 7
  • First Pitch: 8:37 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Mike Foltynewicz ( 13-10, 2.85 ERA) vs. Hyun-jin Ryu (7-3, 1.97 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record
Regular Season: 102-73-4, +21.35 units
Postseason: 1-1, -0.25 units
Yesterday’s Result: Athletics-Yankees Over 8, Hendriks vs. Severino (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Manager Dave Roberts made a very curious decision when he tabbed Ryu — rather than ace Clayton Kershaw — to start Game 1 of the Dodgers’ National League Division Series with the Braves that begins Thursday evening. So, how will this affect the over/under?

Since arriving in the majors in 2013 following a dominant several-year stint in Korea, the 31-year-old has exhibited flashes of being a legitimate upper-rotation pitcher. However, injuries have prevented him from sustaining any long-term success in the majors, including this season when he missed significant time with a groin strain.

Ryu landed on the shelf in early May and didn’t return until about three months later. Since coming off the disabled list, the fifth-year southpaw has made nine starts, yielding three runs or fewer in all of them. He also went at least five innings in eight of those outings.

Even before his injury, Ryu was still going strong, which is why he finished with a 1.97 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 9.73 K/9 and .201 batting average against — all career-best marks — in 15 starts.

We’ll also certainly appreciate that this is a home start for Ryu. The former Hanwha Eagle went 5-2 in nine outings at Dodger Stadium with a 1.15 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.

In addition, he served up just three homers in 54.2 innings at hitter-friendly Chavez Ravine, a stark contrast from the six long balls he allowed in just 27.2 innings on the road.

The other starting pitcher in this opener, Foltynewicz, also delivered a terrific campaign in 2018, even earning his first All-Star berth.

Like his counterpart tonight, Foltynewicz registered career-best numbers across the board, crafting together a splendid 2.85 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .195 BAA.

The former first-round draft pick also struck out more than a batter per inning for the first time in his five years in the big leagues. That’s a sign that the hard-throwing Foltynewicz is really harnessing the excellent stuff he’s displayed throughout the years.

Foltynewicz looked absolutely dominant very frequently this season thanks to his arsenal. In fact, the 27-year-old recorded a whopping 24 starts (!) in which he gave up two earned runs or fewer — in 31 turns.

One last item to consider: as Paul Lo Duca pointed out in his great piece on the game, because of the unusual 5:37 p.m. local start time, hitters will have to deal with shadows. That’s only going to make things tougher when dealing with two pitchers who have been on a tear the last several weeks.

Just wait until first pitch before putting your bet in, as it’s possible the line elevates to 7.5. If we don’t get the desired uptick, I’ll still be on the under at 7.

Play: UNDER 7/7.5

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.