As the Los Angeles Dodgers open up postseason play in Washington D.C. versus the Nationals, LA will look to Rich Hill in game two. Clayton Kershaw already secured the win in a 4-3 game one victory over the Nats.
The Kershaw and Hill one-two punch is probably not what most Dodgers fans would have had anticipated at the start of the season or even the all-star break for that matter, but this combination of lefties may be the best pitching duo in the playoffs. Very quietly, Hill has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season and very well could be the best pitcher on field when he faces the Nationals in the second game of the NLDS.
At the start of the season in April while Hill was still a member of the Oakland Athletics, he had a nine game stretch where he dominated opposing hitters. In a statistical comparison conducted by Fangraphs.com, statistical experts compared Hill’s best nine starts this past April against Nationals ace Matt Scherzer best nine starts during his Cy Young season in 2014 to measure his performance and the numbers are eye popping!
|Matt Scherzer Best Nine Starts in 2014||64.2||31.3%||6.1%||40.4%||1.81||2.05|
|Hill’s Nine Starts in April||55.0||33.8%||6.5%||50%||1.96||2.26|
Since being traded to the Dodgers in August, Hill has been absolutely dominant! In six starts with the Dodgers, Hill posted a 1.85 ERA, a 30.47 percent strikeout rate with 39 strikeouts, a 2.07 FIP and and 45.3 percent ground ball rate. Clearly, Hill’s “best” starts came as a Dodger, cutting all of his numbers from his past best nine starts in April.
Oh and by the way, he took a no hitter into the seventh inning against the Marlins before Dave Roberts went to the bullpen. In a small sample size Dodger rumors are that Hill has been arguably one of the best pitchers in baseball going into the postseason, matching Scherzer’s number’s, who is likely to become the National League Cy Young this year.
Hill has unquestionably been pitching at a career best since joining the Dodgers, improving on his “best” nine starts in April despite a nagging blister issue. If Hill’s performance continues to trend in the right direction, the Kershaw and Hill one-two punch will prove to be a lethal combination in the postseason.
Without question game one was a classic heavyweight battle between Cy Young pitchers with Kershaw facing off verse Max Scherzer. But do not count out Rich Hill, an ace in his own right, to put on a memorable show in game two verse the Nationals. He has the potential to be the deciding x-factor this postseason by taking pressure off Kershaw and quieting opposing lineups. Hill has yet to face the Nationals this season, however, he will look to silence a Nationals lineup that has a team batting average of .259 against left handed pitching.
Game two is on Saturday at 1pm PT in Washington.