Los Angeles • The Los Angeles Dodgers are about to find out if their $36 million investment in Hyun-Jin Ryu pays off in the postseason.
The 26-year-old rookie pitcher from South Korea will start Sunday night in the Dodgers’ first home playoff game since 2009. Los Angeles is looking to take control of the best-of-five National League division series after splitting the first two games in Atlanta.
The Braves are turning to their own rookie, 22-year-old Julio Teheran.
Ryu isn’t a typical rookie, having brought a wealth of experience from his native country when he signed with the Dodgers last winter. Teheran more accurately fits the description, with just four major league starts under his belt before this season.
Both the left-handed Ryu and right-handed Teheran went 14-8 during the regular season.
Teheran will be facing the Dodgers for the first time. Ryu made two regular-season starts against the Braves, both no-decisions. He gave up one run in 72⁄3 innings the last time he faced Atlanta on June 7.
Cardinals at Pirates
Pittsburgh • Francisco Liriano started 2013 with his right arm in a cast and his star-crossed career in flux.
A freak accident while goofing off with his kids on Christmas Day left Liriano’s verbal agreement with the Pittsburgh Pirates in doubt. Suddenly, the fresh start Liriano desperately needed appeared iffy.
“I didn’t think I was going to play this year,” Liriano said.
Pittsburgh stuck with Liriano, signing him at a discount. They Pirates were assured his right arm would heal and his left arm — the one rebuilt during Tommy John surgery in 2007 — would turn out to be a perfect fit at PNC Park.
Ten months after wondering when — and where — he would pitch again, Liriano can give the resilient Pirates the lead in the NL division series on Sunday when they face St. Louis and right-hander Joe Kelly in Game 3.
NLDS • St. Louis (Kelly 10-5) at Pittsburgh (Liriano 16-8), 2:37 p.m. (TBS)
NLDS • Atlanta (Teheran 14-8) at Los Angeles (Ryu 14-8), 6:07 p.m. (TBS)