Dodgers, Rich Hill Reel in Sweep of Fish, Win Ninth Straight

At some point the Dodgers will lose and it will suck. Until then the Dodgers can’t lose even when they try to lose. For example before Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 win over the Marlins, the Dodgers wrote in two automatic outs in the bottom of their lazy getaway day lineup. Kike Hernandez is now batting .211 and Trayce Thompson is batting a blistering .121. So even with the bottom of the lineup being Kike, Thompson, pitcher, the Dodgers still managed to win despite “only” scoring three runs. To be fair to Kike he almost hit a home run in the sixth had Ozuna not leaped over the wall to make a spectacular catch to rob him of a home run.

Rich Hill was dominating for his obligatory five innings, and the Dodger bullpen held most of the Marlins in the water for four innings to hang on for the win. The Dodger bats scored one run in the first, third, and fourth innings to plate their three early runs. Justin Turner homered and drove in two and it was enough to beat the woeful Fish. The Dodgers earn their eleventh sweep of the season and win their ninth consecutive game. The boys in blue are now 64-29 on the season and now 10.5 games ahead in the NL West.

Dodgers 3 7 0

Marlins   2 9 0

WP-Hill-6-4

LP-O’Grady-1-1

SV-Jansen-23

HR-Turner-11

The Marlins threw poor rookie southpaw Chris O’Grady out against the Dodgers. The kid was making just his second big league start and he really had no idea of the buzz saw he was up against. The youngster did his best and actually was a lot better then I figured he would be. The kid allowed three earned runs on five hits across five frames and struck out six. Fortunately he received his first MLB loss. Welcome to the show kid.

As for Rich Hill, he’s really discovered his command lately. Today his curve was spinning all over the place and his placement was spot on. The veteran lefty struck out 9 fish over five innings allowing just one earned run on five hits. The best part of the outing was the zero under the walks category. No walks are good for Hill and for my blood pressure. Unfortunately Hill was unable to pitch past the fifth inning, but what else is new?

The bats provided just enough offense to squeak out the win but missed some opportunities to cash in more. Justin Turner slugged a first inning home run to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead. In the third inning Logan Forsythe walked and Corey Seager singled him to third. Turner’s sacrifice fly plated Forsythe to put the Dodgers up 2-0. The Dodgers got one more run in the fourth when Chris Taylor tripled and Austin Barnes singled him in to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. The Dodgers loaded the bases in the seventh frame on two walks and a single, but Seager was foolishly picked off of second base by Kyle Barraclough. Now that’s a bit embarrassing.

Meanwhile Hill mowed through the Marlin’s lineup like an expert fisherman at sea. He whiffed Giancarlo Stanton in the first inning. After giving up a Marcell Ozuna double he struck out the next three Fish hitters (Tyler Moore, Derek Dietrich, A.J. Ellis) to end the second inning. He racked up two more strikeouts in the third and stranded a Christian Yelich double in the fourth by striking out Moore again.

Hill and the Dodgers ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth. With one out former Dodger A.J. Ellis doubled and JT Riddle singled him to third. Then Ichiro Suzuki’s grounder back to the box deflected off of Hill and rolled into no man’s land. Ellis scored to cut the lead to 3-1. But Hill got Prado to whiff and Stanton to ground out to end the threat. That was all for Hill.

The Dodger bullpen took things the rest of the way, ending with Kenley Jansen recording another four out save. Josh Fields pitched a perfect sixth inning. The Luis Avilan induced an inning ending double play to get out of the seventh. Brandon Morrow came in for the bottom of the eighth inning and got Dee Gordon to lead-off with a routine grounder to short. But Seager was rushing the play and bobbled the ball allowing Gordon to reach. Charitable scoring gave Dee a single.

After Prado grounded out, Morrow then blew away Stanton for the second out. In comes Kenley and he immediately was called for a balk. That’s two balks for Kenley in a week in Miami. Remember he balked in the all-star game as well. With Gordon at third, Yelich pokes one up the middle to score Gordon and the Dodger lead is now 3-2. Fear not though Dodger fans, Kenley would strike out Justin Boar to end the inning.

The bottom of the ninth was not a problem for Kenley. He struck out Dietrich, A.J. and then got Riddle to ground out to end the game. Dodgers win again! Final score Dodgers 3 Marlins 2. Oh and Stanton had a pretty bad day. The Miami slugger went 0 for 4, struck out twice and lost his glove over the wall. Don’t worry he got it back eventually.

The Dodgers are idle on Monday but will travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox at US Cellular Field. Clayton Kershaw will try to keep the winning streak alive as the Dodgers look for their tenth straight win in the series opener on Tuesday night. The pale hose will counter with Miguel Gonzalez. It never gets old.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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40 thoughts on “Dodgers, Rich Hill Reel in Sweep of Fish, Win Ninth Straight

  1. Another reason to get another stud bp arm: In a playoff game, Hill likely gives us a great 5ip. Maybe 6. But not more than that. So get a stud to go 2, and Kenley to close it.

  2. I do not care who starts, I want to see more than 5. That’s just pitiful. You can’t go 6 you have no business being a major league starter. One of the biggest flaws and stupidest stats is the quality start stat…….moronic.

    1. He struck out nine, didn’t allow a walk, and allowed only one earned run. And you’re complaining?

      Five innings versus six innings..what difference does it make? If putting in a reliever in a particular inning gives a marginally better chance of getting the side out and reducing wear and tear on the starting pitcher’s arm, what’s the problem? Oh yeah….tradition or something. “That’s just the way it should be and I don’t give a rat’s turd what any of those highfalutin sabre-nonsense stats say!”

      1. Nobody is complaining that’s for sure. He’s looked a lot better. Seems like he’s finally found his command on the curve. The problem is that pitching only five innings is fine in July, but in October could become a big problem.

        when starting pitchers go deep into games it helps take the load off the bullpen because as we saw last season the entire staff was gassed by the NLCS, sans Kenley. If the starters go deeper into games even by a couple of innings the less the bullpen has to pitch and the more rested they can be come October.

        We’re already seeing the side effects of having starting pitchers that don’t provide innings. Several of the relievers have already been on and off the disabled list with ailments and inflammations or soreness. Grant Dayton, Josh Fields, Luis Avilan have all spent time on the DL already this year. It stems from last season’s overuse. It has nothing to do with tradition or stats. If the bullpen has to pitch four or five innings every single night guys are going to wear or break down. Then you will see what happened against the Cubs in last season’s NLCS. I’m pretty sure a well rested bullpen allows the Dodgers to fare better against them. Maybe they win the series instead of losing in 6 games.

        1. NO NO NO.

          Stop making stuff up!

          In October pitching 5 is what is expected!

          Look at last year’s Championship Series and WS:

          NLCS
          Maeda 5 innings
          Lester 6 innings
          Kershaw 7
          Hendricks 5
          Arrieta 5
          Hill 6 (got the win)
          Urias 3.2
          Lackey 4
          Lester 7
          Maeda 3.2
          Hendricks 7
          Kershaw 5

          ALCS
          Kluber 6
          Estrada 8
          Tomlin 5.2
          Happ 5
          Stroman 5
          Bauer .2 (injury)
          Sanchez 6
          Kluber 5
          Merrit 4.1
          Estrada 6

          WORLD SERIES
          Lester 5.2
          Kluber 6
          Arrieta 5.2
          Bauer 3.2
          Tomlin 4.2
          Hendricks 4.1
          Kluber 6
          Lackey 5
          Bauer 4
          Lester 6
          Arrieta 5.2
          Tomlin 2.1
          Hendricks 4.2
          Kluber 4

          1. It’s not what’s expected, not at all. What’s expected is the starter to go deep into a game, or at least that’s what’s hoped for. Otherwise what’s the point of a starting rotation? May as well just have 4-5 pitchers pitch throughout the game.

            But then again you run into the problem of overuse and exhaustion for your staff. Most relievers are not able or don’t have enough arm strength to toss more than 1-2 innings anyways. The Cubs got more innings out of their starters, and the Dodger’s relievers were completely gassed…remember how that turned out???

          2. One reliever, maybe, most probably.

            Blanton.

            Nobody is on the same usage pattern this year.

            What is expected? I have no friggin’ clue.

            But I can guess.

            Starters are expected to go through this lineup twice. Then the bullpen takes it from there. That’s what’s expected in the regular season, and in the post-season.

          3. “It’s not what’s expected, not at all. What’s expected is the starter to go deep into a game, or at least that’s what’s hoped for.”

            That’s not a reason why, that’s just a nod to some nebulous concept of tradition, or the way it ought to be.

            We’ve had this discussion before, but it’s just how you construct a staff. You can accept that the starter will only go five if you include quality middle relievers. It’s just a case of redirecting emphasis: putting more of a priority on having a two inning pitcher or two on the staff who are actually good.

          4. That’s not what I’m saying here. There are more than one way of constructing a pitching staff. Yes you can accept that a starter will only go five if that is the strategy you choose. Or you can accept that a starter can go 6-7 innings easing the strain from an overworked bullpen. The Dodgers are better equipped this season for this because Alex Wood is pitching like an ace and they have Brandon Morrow pitching exceptionally well which they didn’t have last year. Plus they have a healthy Brock Stewart and Ross Stripling to provide multiple innings too, but that doesn’t mean it’s always a strategy for success long term. It’s working now for the Dodgers, but again it’s July not October in the NLCS. They have added weapons this year so their chances of success are increased this year, but it certainly didn’t work last year. By October the entire bullpen was gassed. The entire pitching staff except for Kershaw and Kenley were gassed. If I had to choose one or the other I would choose to lengthen the starters to go deeper into games. Not because I want to preserve some kind of tradition, but because I think it’s a better chance of success deeper into the postseason and it helps reduce injuries and exhaustion. Here is how the Dodgers ranked in 2016 and this year in regards to innings pitched by the starters and relievers.

            2016 starters innings pitched -862.1 rank 29- of 30
            2016 relievers innings pitched – 590.2 rank 1 of 30

            2017 starters innings pitched – 527.1 rank 9 of 30
            2017 relievers innings pitched – 306 rank 16 of 30

            this is a huge improvement.

            Look at the numbers from 2016, this is why the club lost the NLCS. Much better this season. The proof is in the results. The more innings you get from your rotation and the less amount of stress you place on your bullpen the better chance of winning you have. This is a huge reason why they’re 35 games above .500 right now.

            Nothing to do with tradition. Has to do with results and common sense.

          5. Again, I’m sorry Patch but I have to disagree here. The Dodgers had the best bullpen in baseball in 2016. They led MLB in ERA, BAA, WHIP and Strikeouts. This is largely the same crew from last year with a couple of exceptions. Blanton is gone and Romo and Morrow are new. But Baez, Dayton, Avilan, Kenley, Stripling, and Stewart were all there last year. Hatcher too. Once again the bullpen is one of the best if not the best in all of MLB leading in almost every category. So what’s the difference between 2016 and 2017? Again I will show you below…..

            2016 starters innings pitched -862.1 rank 29- of 30
            2016 relievers innings pitched – 590.2 rank 1 of 30

            2017 starters innings pitched – 527.1 rank 9 of 30
            2017 relievers innings pitched – 306 rank 16 of 30

            Last year the starters weren’t giving them enough innings. This year is a huge improvement. But there is always room for improvement. I gotta give management credit for improving one of their biggest weaknesses that costs them the NLCS. Again there is always room for improvement.

          6. Scott,

            Do you, in the slightest, remember the injury situation with starting pitching last year?

      2. Making a point. Less is expected now and gee he is so good he went 5 innings. Unfortunately there are still 4 more to go. The difference is 3 less outs the bullpen has to get. Less wear and tear on the guys who are there to get 3 outs. If nothing else 2016 should be a lesson. Do not burn out your pen. But probably the biggest difference this year has been the 10 day DL. It has allowed the front office to manipulate the pitching staff. When October comes around, that is not going to be available. You are going to have to pick you 12 and stick with them. Oh, you can tweak between rounds if you advance. But how much easier is it to win when your starters are giving you length? Some are content with the 5 innings, me I expect more from a guy pulling down 48 million dollars.

        1. He was at 94 pitches. If it was Kershaw he probably would have been lifted at 94 pitches. Why have starters throw additional pitches and increase the chance of wearing down when there are fresh arms in the pen, especially for an essentially meaningless game against the Marlins when you’re almost 10 games up in the standings? You already addressed this consideration by accurately describing the use of the 10 day DL. The FO and Roberts want to keep the pitching staff fresh and injury free.

    1. To do that they need to increase the rosters from 25. The Dodgers are going with 4 bench guys right now which I have never thought was a good idea. It is working because almost everyone is producing.

  3. There’s an article on TrueBlueLA on bullpen usage. Before the ASG. Bullpen usage is down this year for us. The only guys overused so far arr Baez and Kenley but both are used less than last year. Reason is we are getting guys like Maeda and Ryu to pitch 4 inning saves, and Stripling and Stewart to go multiple innings every time out. It’s made a huge difference.

    But LHRP is a problem with the injuries. Or are we looking at Ryu and (gasp) Kazmir? Ryu may be very good in 1 inning stints in the post season.

    I still like Britton and would trade Alvarez or Verdugo or Calhoun for him and dump Kazmir. I’d move one of them and one of our young catchers other than Keibert Ruiz. Too much? I would do more but Nationals didn’t give up much for in their recent trade so we should keep negotiating.

    1. YF

      I don’t think they should wait until the last moment either.

      I could see advantages in doing that, but since we are so set, I think they should act quicker, if they aren’t.

      1. Well we are up against the non-waiver deadline, so there can still be a move or two left in August.

        And I am actually mildly interested to see how we end up even if no moves are made. I think we will use Ryu and Kazmir out of the bullpen, and maybe Honeycutt and Roberts can work their magic with Kazmir. Too bad about Urias – it would have been nice to have him and Buehler out of the bullpen in September and October. But I think Ryu and Buehler can work too, and Kazmir only for blowouts and bullpen preservation purposes.

        1. YF

          I don’t even want the Dodgers to mess with Kazmir!

          He tried to blame Roberts and the Dodgers, for the reason he didn’t pitch further into games.

          I know they don’t lose starters go much past sixth, but Kazmir was not pitching well enough at times, to pitch even five innings.

          He is not a team player, to say that stuff, and his fastball is not there yet anyways.

  4. YF
    I agree with you on Britton for Verdugo or Alvarez. Not Verdugo. I agree with you that Ruiz is to good to be traded. Normally you never have enough good catchers in he system. However, it looks like we may have a surplus.

  5. Bluto, those are interesting stats about playoff starters’ innings pitched. Adds to my belief that we go get another monster for the bp

  6. McCoulough on LA times had a really nice article wrapping up today’s game. Kenley as not 100% and basically apologized for giving up the run.

    It’s a special team.

    Okay enough with the sentiment. I am a bit worried about Hill’s fastball which to seems to be 2-3 mph slower tham last year. His fastball needs to be in the 92-95 mph, not 88mph-90mph, and it needs to rise when it is up in the strike zone. Maybe it’s just today (Miami, humid day game) but that is something to keep an eye out for.

    1. Hill is 38. He is well past his prime. So if there is a loss of velocity, creaky bones are sure to be involved

      1. Hill is actually 37, soon to be much older. He’s on pace to reach about 111 innings. 5 innings average per start, not exactly studly but more importantly he just might finish the year standing. Wood is doing something NOBODY expected and is averaging 5.2 innings per start. Those two behind Kershaw with everybody else in the pen and who knows. 3 left handed starters in a playoff series? Unconventional, but, unconventional is us.

    2. It’s the cutter. He’s throwing it more and it averages 1-2 MPH slower than his fastball. I saw a whole lot of swing and misses with that 88 mph pitch.

  7. Dodgerpatch and Box are believers in the saber stats used. That is cool. It is their view of todays game. I am too old school to care about or believe in any of that stuff. My test is always the eye test. I believe in what I see every day when I tune in a game. I have seen the great, and the not so great play over all the years I have watched baseball. To me, a starter should be able to pitch deep into a game, and deep is not 5 innings. If it were not for this era we are in of pampered high priced players, it would not even be 6. 7 or better is what I would consider good. I remember when pitching staffs consisted of 11 guys, or sometimes 10. Now they are 12 or 13 and teams play with a short bench and all of that comes back on the starters going less innings. Now, the Dodgers are playing excellent baseball, better than most any team I have seen since they moved to LA. We fans are happy for the teams success, and seeing the Giants 28 games out is awfully nice too. Great, now lets get through the playoffs and on to the big prize which has eluded the franchise for 28 long years. How we get there and how that is accomplished, every fan has their own idea’s of what should be done, who we should target in trade talks, who we should dump, or in some cases attempt to get another team to take a player they really do not want. The thing is this. All of the Dodgers Championship teams had one thing in common. Dominating starting pitching. Just go back and look at the game results. They faced much better hitting teams in all those series. They also faced some very good pitching. But their starters and in the 59 series, their closers got the job done. So, look at what we have right now. Do you trust this staff of starters to get you to and win the series? They need an upgrade in LH relievers. Probably another starter would not hurt. But who do you trust on this roster as it now stands to get the job done. Especially against the better teams. Wood, and Kershaw for sure. Hill, maybe, he has been better lately, Maeda, not so much, 1 good 1 bad. McCarthy, same thing as Maeda, Ryu is probably toast. Jansen is solid, Morrow has been very good and Fields the last couple of games has looked better. Baez seems to be having control issues again, Romo has disappeared. I like Stewart, he has been stellar. Stripling has looked better since coming back. Avilan is very pedestrian. I see 8 guys I would put on the playoff roster. Kersh, Jansen, Wood, Hill, Morrow, Fields, Stewart, and Stripling. The rest, not so much. So they need to figure out who those guys are going to be. Hopefully, injuries do not become a problem.

    1. We are from the same era so I can identify with what you say here Michael. I don’t live and die with Moneyball but I do recognize its value.

      As for Dodgers history of dominant starting pitching being the key, I agree. That was then. Dominant starting pitching is being defined differently now. 5 innings of sub 3.5, followed by 4 innings of a rifle arm bullpen is the goal now. It’s different than what we were used to 30 years ago. I’ve said all along it might work. Platooning with guys nobody ever heard of and oft injured soft throwing starters is not my idea of Dodger baseball, but it’s working, and I have to admit watching this group since Bellinger arrived has been damn exciting. It’s only 3 1/2 months, but what a ride. Hope it lasts. It’s been a long wait for the Dodger faithful.

        1. I go back further than those 2. Wynn, Spahn, Ford, Newcombe, Drysdale, and a whole lot of guys who finished what they started. Ryan was always a K machine, but for most of his career, he was barely over .500 win wise. Seaver was always good. Drysdale would have thrown at his own mother. I saw him dust many a hitter. Koufax was nicer. Gibby, that guy was just plain mean. Spahn when I saw him was way past his prime but could still beat you. He and Marichal had a classic duel one time. Went 16 innings if I remember right in 1963. Spahn was 42 years old and threw 201 pitches that game and lost on a Willie Mays homer in the bottom of the 16th. the loss dropped his record to 13-4. For a team that was 38-39. Giants were in 3rd behind the Cardinals. Both would fade and the Dodgers would end up with the pennant and eventual World Championship behind a guy named Koufax.

          1. History.

            We now have 5 inning starters making $150,000 an inning at Del Taco Stadium.

            I feel like organic remains of an ancient time.

      1. Bellinger has been a revelation. He has more than filled in for Gonzo. A story I read today said Gonzo was going to come back in September even if his back was not fully healed. Since we are from the same era, I know you have an idea where I am coming from. Money ball may be the future, but the baseball is not as good. Players now get injury’s they never heard of in the 50’s and 60’s. I have never seen so many hammy pulls as in the last few years. These guys are bulked up and do weights all the time, they are nutrition savvy, and workout freaks. I liked watching guys finish what they started, of course the money they get paid now is obscene. Koufax would own the franchise. But I liked the style of play much better back then. There was more attention to fundamentals, everybody knew how to bunt, and situational hitting. Striking out was frowned upon. Guys with averages down around the Mendoza line were not on the roster for long because there was always someone a little hungrier waiting at AAA. Kershaw is kind of a throwback player with all the intensity he brings, but can you imagine Alston putting up with a guy wearing a banana suit in the dugout? Never. Much more laid back these days. Much less attention to fundamentals. This team does have a level of excitement attached to it. The way they have been winning sometimes boggles the mind. And they are very resilient. Baseball has changed a lot since the first time I watched a game. There are specialists for almost everything now, and the AL has had the DH for over 40 years. I still enjoy watching the games but there are times I just cringe when I see a player look at strike 3 with his bat on his shoulder and make no move to protect the plate on a ball right down the pipe. I played a lot of games when I was young and I never got caught looking at strike 3. If I struck out it was swinging. That to me is throwing away an at bat. To me I guess those early years will always be the best. Mays, Mantle, Gibby, Yogi, Snider, Hodges, Williams, Cepeda, McCovey, Marichal, those guys played the game the way it was supposed to be played and never took a play off. There were a lot more just like them. That’s the baseball I admired and loved the most. Game will never be the same. But it is the only game we have.

  8. Bluto says Dodgers still owe Romo $3MM. That shoots down any chance of trading him (like there was some chance, given the way he’s pitched). DFA, anyone? That has to put a dent in the “FAZ is a genius” Wall of Fame. FAZ is like every other GM, some of his deals work out good, some of them stink.

    1. Oh he is a definite DFA candidate. If FAZ shows any brains. The guy has been beyond mediocre and has not pitched in about 10 days.

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