SYDNEY -- Hyun-Jin Ryu's older brother and a good friend flew to Australia to watch him pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday and his parents will be watching back home in Korea, where the game starts at 11 a.m.
Ryu said he enjoyed Australia. He saw a koala, avoided eating kangaroo. He slept well. Sydney even has a Koreatown.
Who knows, perhaps one day the Ryu family will be able to watch a game in an even more familiar setting. Major League Baseball has had discussions with South Korea about one day playing a season-opening series there. The Dodgers, with the biggest Korean baseball star in the world, would be a logical choice to make the trip.
"Opening a season in Korea is a fantastic idea," Ryu said through an interpreter. "I will make it my personal wish to do that."
In another sense, familiarity is Ryu's biggest challenge this season. Teams tended to have greater success against Ryu the second and third times they faced him and only one team is more familiar with Ryu than the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have had more plate appearances against Ryu than any other team aside from the Giants. They're batting .300 with a .739 OPS against him. He's 1-2 with a 4.65 ERA in five games against Arizona.
Ryu admitted to being a little anxious before Sunday's start at the Sydney Cricket Ground and said he usually isn't nervous before starts. Then again, he wasn't acknowledging any edge for the Diamondbacks because they've seen him so frequently.
"As much as they've seen me, I've seen them equally," Ryu said. "I think it's a two-way street."