In game one of the NLDS, Hyun-Jin Ryu silenced the Braves over seven innings, allowing no runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and leading the Dodgers to a 6-0 win in the first game of the NLDS. Ryu, who started instead of Kershaw in game one, allowed only singles and no walks, throwing just 104 pitches. Ryu was given more than enough support with home runs by Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, and Kiké Hernández.
Before the game, there were doubters that about the Dodgers starting Ryu in game one. Many said Kershaw should still do it. But Ryu silenced those critics quickly when he came out dominating Braves hitters. Ryu didn’t show much emotion during his start since shows of emotion can drain energy. But after getting his final strikeout, Ryu pumped his fist before going back to the dugout.
“He did what we knew he was going to do,” said Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman about Ryu. “He pitches backwards. Every time you think you’re going to get something, it’s always the opposite. He commands up, down, in and out. The back-door cutters were big against righties and he kept throwing changeups to lefties, which kept us off balance.”
While Ryu dominated, Braves’ starter, Mike Foltynewicz, didn’t fare so well. Foltynewicz took the loss, allowing four earned runs over just two innings. Interestingly, Foltynewicz allowed fewer hits (3) than runs. The reason: he walked three batters. Because of this, the Dodgers had more than enough opportunities to score.
The Dodgers’ first opportunity to score came in the first inning with Joc Pederson came to the plate. The opportunity presented itself in the form of a fastball over the plate. Pederson hit the ball just over the glove of Ender Inciarte for a home run. This was the Dodgers’ first postseason leadoff homer since Chris Taylor hit one on the first pitch of last year’s World Series.
The Dodgers got right back to work in the second inning, when Foltynewicz put himself in a jam, hitting a batter and walking another one with two outs in the second. He got into further trouble when he threw Muncy a lollipop instead of a fastball. Muncy hit it into the bleachers and the Dodgers led 4-0.
Just in case the Dodgers needed some more runs, Hernández came up with another homer in the sixth. Hernández crushed a hanging breaking ball and turned “the outfielders into spectators,” as Bob Costas called it. Anyways, the Dodgers led 5-0.
From a tongue, to bat spikes, to base-running, to sliding catches (or near catches), Puig showed us everything on Thursday night.
It’s game two of the NLDS on Friday night. Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers and Aníbal Sánchez will try to tie this series for the Braves. In seven career postseason appearances, Sánchez has a 2-4 record with a 2.79 ERA. Kershaw is 7-7 in his postseason career with a 4.35 ERA. He has, however, pitched better in the postseason later in his career. The game will begin at 6:37 pm and it will be on FS1.