Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu will get a rare honor on Sunday when he starts the team's third game of the season against the San Diego Padres. If you recall, Ryu also started the Dodgers' second game last weekend during their Australia series with Arizona, meaning he'll be called on to start back-to-back regular season games.
Sunday's starter was originally scheduled to be Clayton Kershaw, who also started the Dodgers opener last weekend. However, he was scratched on Wednesday after developing inflammation in his upper back. Ryu, who was questionable for his next start after splitting his big right toenail running the bases last week, has been cleared and named the starter, according to Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
Ryu will try to improve to 2-0 after throwing five scoreless innings against the Diamondbacks last Sunday in Sydney. If successful, he'd actually have two wins this season before any other team notched its first victory. Of course, 27 of those teams will have yet to take the field for a regular-season game.
Now check this out. According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, the last pitcher to start consecutive games was Ricky Nolasco last July 14 and 19 as a member of the Dodgers. But if you go back to 2012, Zack Greinke actually started three games in a row for the Milwaukee Brewers, beginning on July 7 at Houston. In the first start, he lasted only two batters after getting ejected arguing a call at first base. Greinke never recorded an out and ended up taking the loss as one of the runners came around to score in the Astros' 6-3 win.
Greinke convinced manager Ron Roenicke to let him return on Sunday and lasted only three innings as a precaution. In that game, he took a no-decision. Then the all-star break came, which allowed Greinke to rest and return for a third straight start on Friday, July 13. Greinke was off his game that night, allowing six runs over five innings in a no-decision against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Fourteen days later, Greinke was traded to the Los Angeles Angels.
Now we're going to bring this full circle. With Ryu starting again Sunday night, that means he could match Greinke's feat — which had been done most recently by Red Fabor in 1917 — by starting again on Tuesday. That won't be necessary, however, since the Dodgers are penciling in, you guessed it, Zack Greinke, who's back to 100 percent after skipping the trip to Australia.
The circle of baseball life amazes once again.
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