For most people, home is where the heart is.
For Hyun-Jin Ryu, anywhere but home is where his heart is.
Needing a win to avoid a sweep in San Francisco, Don Mattingly turned the ball over to Ryu, and the results were outstanding: seven innings, four hits, no runs, one walk, and three strikeouts. And most importantly, a win for the Dodgers over the Giants 2-1.
This was a far cry from the last time Ryu took on the Giants. That was the home opener back on April 4, and he didn't even make it to the third inning in getting drilled for eight runs (six earned). This time it was one changeup after another, and boy were the Giants off balance.
Take away the home opener start, and he'd be 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA. That's because all four of his other starts have been on the road. The Dodgers are about to start a 10-game homestand, so he'll get a couple starts in Dodger Stadium, most likely against the Phillies and Rockies.
This domination on the road is a role reversal from last season, where he had a 3.69 ERA in 15 starts on the road, and a 2.32 ERA in 15 starts at home. Obviously he won't go the whole season at this torrid pace on the road, but the encouraging thing is based on last season's numbers, he can be pretty darn good at home, too. Add it all up, and it's looking like an All-Star season for Ryu.
While we all wait on the impending return of the great Clayton Kershaw (who had a good bullpen session today, by the way), Mattingly has to be thrilled that Ryu and Zack Greinke are a combined 6-1 and are more than carrying the load in Kershaw's absence.
Other thoughts from the game:
* Yasiel Puig certainly had an interesting day in right field. He dropped a simple fly ball, recovered in time to gun the runner out at second on the force, immediately came back and made a terrific catch facing the wall, then had a great running catch in the eighth. Considering all of the stuff coming out about his defection from Cuba, you can't help but wonder where his head is at now. And that's an understatement.
* My headline would've easily been about the bullpen had they blown Ryu's gem, but thankfully Kenley Jansen held on for his fifth save. Brian Wilson got the hold and didn't allow a run despite a leadoff double and a walk. Jansen should've gone 1-2-3, but Tim Federowicz bumbled a dropped strike three to Michael Morse leading off. Ehire Adrianza hit an RBI single, but with two on, Brandon Crawford flew out to end it. Close one.
* Good to see Scott Van Slyke's name back in the starting lineup, as it looks like Mattingly is trying to get him in more. That's a good decision. He hit a double with a run scored and a walk, and hit the warning track with another swing.
* A night after going 3-for-4 in the leadoff spot, Dee Gordon had no answers for Madison Bumgarner, going 0-for-4. With Hanley Ramirez sitting out because of his hand, Justin Turner got the call at short and played well with a double and a run.
* One of the runs scored was from an RBI single from Federowicz. Yes, really. He still can't hit at .091, but he picked a good time today for his first RBI.
As I mentioned before, the Dodgers will be home for the next 10 games, starting on Friday against the Diamondbacks. I'm guessing these two teams will play each other about 120 games this season. Greinke goes against Wade Miley.