Highly touted rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu has provided some consistent efforts in his first three starts with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They could use another such performance Saturday when he faces the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a split doubleheader at Camden Yards.
The scheduled series opener Friday was postponed by rain, forcing the teams to play a doubleheader in Los Angeles' only visit to Baltimore this season.Ryu will try to earn a third consecutive win while helping the Dodgers avoid a fifth straight defeat.The Dodgers paid $25.7 million just to negotiate a six-year, $36 million deal with Ryu, a star left-hander in Korea, and so far, it's been money well spent.Ryu (2-1, 2.89 ERA) has pitched at least six innings and allowed three or fewer runs in each of his three starts. He recorded nine strikeouts and helped himself with three hits in his latest outing, a 7-5 victory at Arizona last Saturday."Puts guys on the same time," manager Don Mattingly said of the rainout. "Gives Ryu an extra day, so he will be on regular rest."The Dodgers (7-8), though, haven't won since that contest, getting outscored 23-7 during a four-game skid. They had 10 hits in the series finale against San Diego on Wednesday but went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and lost 7-2.Los Angeles is batting .171 in those situations this year."We have to move forward," said Mattingly, who played under Baltimore manger Buck Showalter during his career with the New York Yankees. "We're 7-8, and that's not good enough. But also it's not like we're throwing up the white flag yet. We talk about what's acceptable and what's not acceptable and how do we turn it around."We're not going to sit and feel sorry for ourselves."The Dodgers have also traditionally had lackluster performances in interleague play, going 115-139, but they'll get to face a team that's fared even more poorly. Baltimore's 126-157 mark is the worst in the AL, and the Orioles (8-7) enter this series having alternated losses and wins in their last six games.Baltimore, though, produced a resilient 10-6 victory in 10 innings over Tampa Bay on Thursday. The Orioles rallied from an early three-run hole and erased two other one-run deficits before blowing a one-run lead in the eighth.Matt Wieters' grand slam gave Baltimore its 17th consecutive extra-inning win, the longest such streak since Pittsburgh's 21 straight from June 1959-July 1960.Showalter said getting ready for the Dodgers and interleague play was quite a change after facing AL East foes Boston, the Yankees and Tampa Bay in succession."It's a real challenge for your time," he said. "We were here until well after midnight (Thursday) and today spent the whole day trying to gather the information our players need to know. It was one of those days where you close your door from noon to 3 trying to get everything done."Jason Hammel (2-1, 4.34) will oppose Ryu, looking to lead the Orioles to back-to-back wins for the third time this season. The right-hander will also attempt to win consecutive starts for the first time since June.Hammel gave up three runs over six innings of a 5-2 win over the Yankees on Saturday, but he's 2-4 with a 5.63 ERA in nine career starts against the Dodgers and 0-3 with a 10.66 ERA in the last three.Josh Beckett (0-2, 3.26 ERA) is scheduled to start the nightcap for the Dodgers. The veteran right-hander is no stranger to the Orioles, having gone 7-7 with a 4.36 ERA in 20 starts against them.He hasn't enjoyed any success in recent meetings, losing four straight outings while compiling a 6.75 ERA and giving up six home runs.Beckett had by far his best performance of the season Sunday at Arizona, allowing one run and six hits over 8 1/3 innings of a 1-0 loss. He walked one and struck out nine in his longest start since a shutout for Boston on June 15, 2011, against Tampa Bay.Wei-Yin Chen (0-2, 4.00) aims to end a long winless streak for Baltimore. The left-hander turned in his second consecutive quality start in a 3-0 loss at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, getting little or no offensive help from his teammates again.Chen is 0-6 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 starts since his last win Aug. 19 against Detroit, receiving 15 runs of support in those games.Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford are the only current Dodgers to face Chen, going a combined 4 for 12 in their matchups.The Dodgers have won five straight over the Orioles, with the latest series taking place June 15-17, 2004.