Los Angeles Dodgers' South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin will start Game 3 of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made the announcement Thursday, hours before the start of Game 1 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers, which finished with the best record in the NL at 106-56, will have the home-field advantage until the World Series, if they go that far. Game 3 of this best-of-five series against the Nationals will be at Nationals Park in the U.S. capital at 7:45 p.m. Sunday (local time), or 8:45 a.m. Monday in South Korea.
Ryu is a career 2-2 with a 4.11 ERA in seven postseason starts.
He has never faced the Nationals in the playoffs.
Ryu was far better at home than on the road during the 2019 regular season. He was 10-1 with a 1.93 ERA at Dodger Stadium, compared to 4-4 with a 2.72 ERA away from home.
He faced the Nationals twice this year, once each at home and on the road. Ryu tossed eight shutout innings against them at Dodger Stadium on May 12 and gave up one earned run in 6 2/3 innings in Washington on July 26.
Ryu made his final regular season start this past Saturday.
Walker Buehler will start the opener for the Dodgers, followed by Clayton Kershaw in Game 2 on Friday.
Roberts explained that the order was set to ensure Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, will be available in the bullpen in Game 5 should the series go the distance. Ryu, who has had shoulder and elbow surgeries in recent years, needs a lengthy pregame routine to get ready to pitch and isn't considered a viable option to pitch in relief. Kershaw has made six relief appearances in the postseason.
The Dodgers could use all the help they can get in the bullpen, which had its share of ups and downs during the regular season, including the career-worst season by closer Kenley Jansen.
The Nationals haven't announced their Game 3 starter yet, but it will most likely be Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner who started the NL Wild Card Game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
Washington's two other aces, Patrick Corbin and Stephen Strasburg, will be on the mound to start the first two games. (Yonhap)