Angels, Dodgers move down freeway to Anaheim

LOS ANGELES — In a Los Angeles Dodgers rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw (11-2), Alex Wood (8-0) and Brandon McCarthy (6-3), Hyun-Jin Ryu can be overlooked.

Still, the Dodgers know the ability of the South Korean left-hander, who will start Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

In 2014 and 2015, Ryu was a combined 28-15 and a dependable presence in the rotation. He lost 2016 to injuries, and he has yet to return to old form in 2017.

Ryu (3-6, 4.35 ERA) has only two quality starts this year in 12 attempts. He has gone seven innings once. He pitched six innings three times, the best outing a three-hit, one-run, six-inning effort in a win over the St. Louis Cardinals on May 31.

In 67 innings, he has been raked for 14 home runs.

The optimism manager Dave Roberts feels for Ryu is because of his work ethic. Ryu has accepted being the fifth option among starters and having his starts pushed back at times. When asked to throw in relief, he put together a stout four-inning, two-hit, no-run effort on May 25 against the Cardinals.

His last start, against the New York Mets, was solid, too — five innings, five hits, two runs in five innings on Thursday — to the degree that the Dodgers moved up his next start. The change had more to do with Kershaw staying on regular rest, but it still put Ryu in a positive light.

“The change was really good for him,” Roberts said of the brief move to the bullpen. “He started throwing a little cutter on right-handers, and that played up the fastball up. It was as much velocity as we’ve seen this year from him.”

Ryu is 2-0 in two starts against the Angels, throwing a two-hit shutout in 2013 and seven scoreless, two-hit innings in 2014.

The Angels’ Wednesday starter, rookie Alex Meyer, is not the least bit like Ryu. Meyer is a lanky 6-foot-9, while Ryu is a bit squat and solid. However, Meyer is just as important to the Angels as Ryu is the Dodgers.

Meyer (3-4, 4.20 ERA) has blossomed into someone who can be a regular in the rotation for the long term. In his past seven starts, the right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer six times, two runs or fewer in five of those games, He has gone six innings or more four times.

His last start was a blip, as he allowed five hits and five runs in 3 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees on Friday.

“As he has harnessed his delivery, being able to repeat pitches a lot better, you see that his stuff plays,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Guys don’t get good looks at him. From where Alex was last year to now, he’s light -years ahead.”

Meyer will face the Dodgers for the first time Wednesday.

“My track record has been a bit inconsistent,” he said. “I’ve definitely struggled at times being in the strike zone consistently, repeating mechanics. But those mechanics get a little more consistent every time out. I recognize now what’s happening during games when I can still adjust.’

The Dodgers and Angels move their interleague series to Angel Stadium for the final two games Wednesday and Thursday. The teams traded 4-0 shutouts the past two days, the Angels winning Monday and the Dodgers prevailing Tuesday.