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 in their interleague opener against the Baltimore Orioles.
Ryu will try to earn a third consecutive win Friday night 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 runs or fewer in each of his three starts. He recorded nine strikeouts and had three hits at the plate in his latest outing, a 7-5 victory at Arizona on Saturday.
"I'm sure he has still lots of things to deal with as far as the culture and the language and a lot of things," manager Don Mattingly said. "But the pitching part, he came in with that, and that confidence has been there since day one."
The Dodgers (7-8), though, haven't won since that game and have been outscored 23-7 during their four-game skid. They had 10 hits in Wednesday's series finale against San Diego but went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position in a 7-2 loss. Los Angeles is batting just .171 in those situations this year.
"We have to move forward," said Mattingly, who played under Baltimore manger Buck Showalter during his lengthy 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 all-time, but they'll get to face a team that's fared even worse. Baltimore's 126-157 mark is the AL's worst, and the Orioles (8-7) enter their next interleague series having alternated losses and wins in their last six games.
Baltimore, though, produced a resilient 10-6 victory in 10 innings Thursday against Tampa Bay. The Orioles rallied from an early three-run hole and erased two other one-run deficits but blew a one-run lead in the eighth.
Matt Wieters' grand slam gave Baltimore its 17th consecutive extra-inning win dating back to last season. That streak is the longest in the majors since Pittsburgh's 21 straight from June 1959 to July 1960.
"It's huge for us to get the feel for it, how we did it last year," third baseman Manny Machado said.
Jason Hammel (2-1, 4.34) will try 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 in a 5-2 win over the New York 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 his last three. The most recent of those matchups was on Aug. 19, 2011, in Colorado.
The Dodgers have won five straight over the Orioles with the latest series taking place June 15-17, 2004.