Results tagged ‘ Rich Hill ’
By Cary Osborne
One truth about this National League Championship Series is that the team that has scored first has won every single game.
Is that coincidental? Maybe. But consider the starting pitching we’re seeing here. Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester, in that order, ranked one through four in ERA among all starting pitchers who threw at least 100 innings this season. Jake Arrieta was 10th in the National League.
When these pitchers have a lead, the pressure appears to shift onto their opponents.
Three of the most important numbers in the National League Championship Series have been three, four and five. Those numbers represent the three spots in the Chicago order that Dodger pitchers have dominated.
Chicago’s 3-4-5 hitters are 2 for 32 in this series.
In Game 1, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell went 1 for 12 at the plate with a walk.
That same trio went 0 for 9 with a walk in Game 2.
The Cubs changed things up in Game 3 and went Zobrist, Rizzo and the hot Javier Baez and still managed to only go 1 for 11 with a walk.
The lone hits were a Zobrist double in the five-run Cubs eighth inning in Game 1 and a broken-bat infield single from Rizzo in the ninth inning in Game 3.
It just wasn’t a good at-bat.
Swinging strike on a Jake Arrieta curveball. Another flailing effort on another curveball. Short salvation came in the form of a high fastball. But then Arrieta hit the inside corner with a called strike three to end the second inning.
Yasmani Grandal turned and did the one thing a catcher shouldn’t do. He argued the call with home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom.
It was the equivalent of spilling some coffee on your shirt and having a disagreement with your boss — all before 10 a.m.
Ah, but there were innings left and hours left in the work day. And if we’ve come to know anything about Grandal, it’s that one stain need not ruin his day.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Arrieta got ahead 0 and 2 on Grandal, but the Dodger catcher worked the count to 3-2, also fouling off a couple of Arrieta’s offerings. And on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Grandal dug a fastball from below the strike zone and drove it out 398 feet to left center field for a two-run homer — the biggest hit in the Dodgers’ 6-0 win over the Cubs on Tuesday night in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. (more…)
By Jon Weisman
On the verge of an early exit, Rich Hill turned his night around.
After 23 pitches in the second inning, Hill had only one out. A six-pitch popout by Javy Baez was sandwiched by a nine-pitch walk to Anthony Rizzo and an eight-pitch free pass to Jorge Soler. Game 3 of the National League Championship Series was teetering.
By Jon Weisman
Pitchers paint on the edge of a cliff. They are artists, tending to a tiny canvas that hovers in mid-air, and they are adventurers who might fall at any moment.
Rich Hill took a minor masterpiece into the sixth inning tonight at Dodger Stadium. After walking two of three batters with some tremulous brush work to start the top of the second, Hill was in his element. Twelve of the next 13 batters he faced became dots on his Seuratian landscape.
In the top of the sixth, the ground beneath Hill’s easel began to quiver. With one out, Kris Bryant singled to left center, for the second hit off the Dodger left-hander. With two out, Anthony Rizzo took the first four pitches, and three fell outside the borders of the strike zone. On deck was Javy Baez, whose electric play helped the Cubs win Game 1 of the National League Championship Series and nearly Game 2 as well.
Hill raised his arm and lofted the next pitch, a 74 mile-per-hour curveball that sidled through the California air with the arc of a rainbow, landing into the glove of Yasmani Grandal for strike two.
Then, at 87 mph, Hill dropped down with a master’s flourish.
Hill pumped his fist, shouted to the heavens and handed his work to the gallery, for 54,269 art-lovers at Dodger Stadium to marvel.
The 36-year-old’s six innings of two-hit shutout ball, his finest performance since he threw seven perfect innings at Miami on September 10, were framed by Grandal, the catcher who also hit a two-run home run off Jake Arrieta in the Dodgers’ 6-0 victory.
Taking a 2-1 lead in the NLCS, the Dodgers are as close to the World Series as they have been in 28 years.
Hill struck out six, giving him 19 in 13 postseason innings (13.2 strikeouts per nine innings) with a 3.46 ERA. With Joe Blanton, Grant Dayton and Kenley Jansen finishing the game, the Dodgers have thrown consecutive postseason shutouts for the first time in franchise history.
By Jon Weisman
“Go as hard as you can for as long as you can, and we’ll figure out the rest.”
That’s the mantra Dave Roberts has sent to his starting pitchers. Sure, seven, eight innings would be nice, but that’s no longer the barometer. For that matter, the homespun charm of a quality start started sounding all too quaint around the fourth of July.
“There’s not been really one formula for us to win the baseball games that we’ve won,” Roberts said today, before Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. “So this postseason, it’s more for me just kind of sending the message to the starters to go out there and leave it all out there.”
Rich Hill, who in the regular season with the Dodgers never went fewer than five innings and had seven perfect frames September 10 at Miami, epitomizes this approach. In this postseason, he has struck out 13 batters in seven innings over two starts, including six in 2 2/3 innings on three day’s rest in the final game of the National League Division Series against Washington.
By Jon Weisman
Clayton Kershaw has thrown 218 pitches since the playoffs began October 7, 117 of them in the five days preceding his start today in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.
That’s a hearty if not quite outrageous amount, buoyed by the fact that Kershaw hasn’t had any physical complications since his return from a herniated disk in September.
“Fortunately for us, the back hasn’t been an issue since he’s come back,” Dave Roberts said, adding that the Dodgers are mainly monitoring his overall usage.
Kershaw has never let on that his arm has been fatigued in any previous postseason, but Roberts suggested that the lefty’s midsummer absence might have given him a little something extra this October.
“I think that the velocity’s played up,” Roberts said, “and he’s holding velocity. His pitch mix is right on point. … There’s a lot of bullets left in that arm this season.”
By Jon Weisman
Carlos Ruiz and Kiké Hernández will make their first 2016 postseason starts for the Dodgers, on a day the team confirmed that Clayton Kershaw will be the starting pitcher in Sunday’s Game 2 and Rich Hill in Game 3 at Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Ruiz had a two-run homer and RBI single off the bench in the National League Division Series, while Hernández will be making his 2016 postseason debut, taking the Chase Utley/Charlie Culberson spot at second base.
Dave Roberts cited Hernández’s athleticism, versatility and “the potential slug” for bringing him back into active duty.
“It was a tough decision with Charlie, but I think (Kiké) could pay a huge benefit for us,” Roberts said.
Otherwise, the Dodgers have their regular postseason lineup against a left-handed pitcher, with Yasiel Puig and Howie Kendrick subbing for Josh Reddick and Andrew Toles.
By Jon Weisman
You are dry. You are bled dry, you are bone dry, you are a body crawling across the desert toward paradise, and not until the last reach of the arm, not until the last extension of the fingertip, not until the last grain of sand was behind you, did you know if you had reached a mirage or the Promised Land.
You open your eyes, and it’s paradise.
In the most epic Dodger playoff game in a generation, in the longest nine-inning playoff game in postseason history, the Dodgers found the buried treasure of a four-run seventh-inning rally, then watched Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw drag that golden chest to glory, defeating the Washington Nationals, 4-3, to advance to the National League Championship Series.
Jansen, whom Dave Roberts boldly put into the game with the tying run on base in the seventh inning, threw a career-high 51 pitches — four fewer than Dodger starter Rich Hill — to get the Dodgers within reach of victory.
Kershaw, the 19th Dodger to play in the game, got the final two outs, two nights after he threw 110 pitches in the Dodgers’ Game 4 victory — instantly recalling Orel Hershiser’s extra-inning save in the last playoff series the Dodgers came from behind to win, the 1988 NLCS.
The winning pitcher was none other than Julio Urías, who became the youngest pitcher in MLB playoff history to get the W.
It was the victory of a generation. It was a victory that seemed to take a generation.
By Jon Weisman
What’s the ideal scenario for the Dodgers at Washington tonight in the deciding game of the National League Division Series?
Pretty simply: An early lead, six or seven combined innings from Rich Hill (officially announced as today’s starting pitcher) and Julio Urías, and matchups from the set-up men before Kenley Jansen sends Los Angeles to Wrigley Field.
It’s hardly implausible, given that the Dodgers scored four runs in the first three innings against Nationals starter Max Scherzer in Game 1. Then there’s the potential of Hill and Urías.