LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers are about to find out if their $36 million investment in Hyun-Jin Ryu pays off in the postseason.
The 26-year-old rookie pitcher from South Korea will start Sunday night in the Dodgers’ first home playoff game since 2009. Los Angeles is looking to take control of the best-of-five National League division series after splitting the first two games in Atlanta.
The Braves are turning to their own rookie, 22-year-old Julio Teheran.
Ryu isn’t a typical rookie, having brought a wealth of experience from his native country when he signed with the Dodgers last winter. Teheran more accurately fits the description, with just four major league starts under his belt before this season.
Both the left-handed Ryu and right-handed Teheran went 14-8 during the regular season.
Teheran will be facing the Dodgers for the first time. Ryu made two regular-season starts against the Braves, both no-decisions. He gave up one run in 72/3 innings the last time he faced Atlanta on June 7.
Ryu threw a bullpen session Friday in Atlanta, something he rarely did in the regular season. He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 29.
“Typically when I rest longer than normal, I always squeeze in a bullpen just to make sure that my body is responding the way I want it to,” he said Saturday through a translator.
Ryu drew an audience for the session that included Manager Don Mattingly, and Stan Conte and Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the team’s medical staff. But Mattingly said there were no concerns about Ryu’s health.