Dodgers find their thrill in Richard Joseph Hill

By Jon Weisman

Sweetly, sometimes softly, Rich Hill mixed his pitches, his curveball surveying the scenic route, his fastball sufficiently startling.

And a team starved for starting pitching suddenly has had two superb outings this week from left-handers.

With six shutout innings, Hill duplicated the Sunday feat of Julio Urías — not to mention Hill’s only previous appearance at Dodger Stadium, in 2007 — and the Dodgers edged the San Francisco Giants, 1-0.

Justin Turner’s fourth-inning home run broke Johnny Cueto’s no-hitter, shutout and (presumably) heart, and made the efforts of Hill and four relievers stand up.

The Dodgers (71-55) won their fourth straight, boosted their lead over San Francisco in the National League West to a season-high three games, and are actually closer to potential playoff opponent Washington (73-53) than they are to the Giants.

In terms of a playoff spot (i.e., the second Wild Card), the Dodgers have a five-game cushion over Miami, with the Giants and Cardinals in between. Los Angeles evened the season series with the Giants at six wins apiece with six games remaining.

Image-1[36]

Cqq8YRXUkAAvdt_Making his first competitive appearance since being sidelined by a blister problem July 17, the 36-year-old Hill silenced the Giants on 81 pitches, allowing five singles (and a trio of warning-track flies), while walking none and striking out three. He retired the last eight batters he faced.

Hill’s strikeout of Brandon Crawford to end the top of the first inning had the Dodger Stadium crowd oohing, as they got their first taste of what the hype about Hill since his trading-deadline acquisition has been about.

Outs“This is the first chance I had to see him in person and up close, and as much energy as there was in the ballpark tonight with the fans, Richy even raised that level of intensity and focus,” Dave Roberts said.

“To go six innings, not having pitched in over six weeks, the command wasn’t perfect, but just the will — he willed himself through six innings. And we came out of it unscathed, and it gave us a huge boost.”

Not counting the day he was hurt and couldn’t throw a pitch, Hill has seven straight quality starts with a 1.21 ERA since May 13. Asked how much the blister affected him at all tonight, Hill replied, “None – it’s 100 percent. There’s no issues there.”

“Mentally felt great, body feels good,” Hill said. “Just being able to stay consistently pitch-to-pitch in the moment is extremely advantageous, and the play from the guys behind me was incredible. And (Yasmani Grandal) did a great job back there and stuck to the routine, and it worked out in my favor.”

After Pedro Baez and Adam Liberatore combined to take care of the seventh, Joe Blanton withstood yet another fly near the wall (by Crawford) to end the eighth. Kenley Jansen brought the victory home with the save in the ninth, and in the process tied Jim Brewer for the Dodger record for career strikeouts by a reliever with his 604th.

The last time the Dodgers beat the Giants by a 1-0 score was July 20, 2011, a night that Clayton Kershaw struck out 13 in eight innings. This was only the second one-run game the Dodgers have played in the past month, and they’ve split the two.

Adrián González extended his hitting streak to 17 games, but Corey Seager’s ended at 14.

10 Comments

Gave him heat last night, so I’ll praise Grandal’s catching tonight.
Also since Kazmir went Monday, and was not effective, not back to back good games by lefties. That said, great job by Hill, hopefully it’s the first of about 10 starts from here on out for him this year as a Dodger.

Kazmir – already forgot about that one. 🙂

Amen. We needed a reliable start from a new 2016 acquisition. Finally a payoff as it has been a very long time since the Kazmir second game of the season shutout victory

I note, however, our new hitting “star” Josh had another hitless night. While they only got 5 fortunately Turner’s was enough. I wonder when the pool will start betting on when Reddick’s next hit will come

Are you going to stop griping about the trade deadline acquisition, now?

No, not yet. =)

Re the second above…I see the wisdom of your thought process. Norris, McCarthy, Anderson, Wood, Bolsinger, Kazmir are all better choices than Greinke, Price, Cueto or Hamels would have been

I saw my first Dodger game in 1940 and been through the best and worst of times with them.ever since I was part of that initial “wait til next year” cry when we barely lost out that year and watched ( at the ball park there wasn’t TV then)and cheered with many Pete Reiser led them to the pennant, only to have that season end in tears as Mickey Owen dropped the third strike on Tommy Henrich. Things like that were impressionable on an 8 year old but now I am old enough to see bad deals when they occur. Reddick in his best of days will never be the potential game changer of a Puig for example and that line up of pitchers signed last and this year will never have one on that list match those ( Greinke et al) who went another way

Roberts is doing an absolutely fantastic job with the 25 he has available nightly-helped tremendously in the back end of games by Blanton and Jansen

Wo, Somebody older than I.

Just to be clear Hamels wasn’t a free agent, and would have cost at least one of Seager or Urias, if not both in a trade last year, thus why they didn’t pull the trigger.

As Vin Scully said, “Hill was more like a mountain” and boy is that true.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: