Rich Hill, Dodgers Bash Braves in Opener

The Dodgers picked themselves up by the bootstraps after a frustrating series in Philadelphia and treated themselves to a good old fashion beatdown of the Braves in the opening game of the Atlanta series. The Dodgers bashed the Braves 8-2 and increased their NL West lead over the Dbacks back to 1.5 games. To say the Dodgers opened up a can of whoop a$$ on the Atlanta squad would be an understatement. Dodger starter Rich Hill was the MVP of the game as he twirled a masterful seven shutout innings allowing just three hits, striking out eight and walking one. Hill not only did it on the mound he also contributed with the bat, knocking in a run with an RBI single.

The game was scoreless through the first four frames as the Dodgers couldn’t figure out opposing starter Anibal Sanchez. The offense came to life late in the game scoring eight runs in the final four innings. The boys in blue scored two in the fifth, one in the sixth, three in the seventh and two in the eighth. The Atlanta defense helped out by committing three errors and seven of the eight were earned runs.

The fifth inning signaled the beginning of the disaster for the Braves with a lead-off walk to Matt Kemp. Bellinger’s ground ball single to former Dodger Charlie Culberson resulted in Culby rushing the throw and airmailing the ball into the Atlanta dugout for the first error of the night. After a Chris Taylor grounder, Alex Verdugo’s bloop single over the drawn in infield brings home the second run.

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Dodgers  8 12 1

Braves    2 7 3

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LP-Sanchez-5-3

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In the top of the sixth, Manny Machado finally hit his first home run as a Dodger, a laser beam over the left center field wall. In the top of the seventh an Ozzie Albies throwing error put Verdugo at second and he came around to score on Hill’s RBI single. That made the score 4-0 Dodgers. The Dodgers kept piling it on. Joc Pederson doubled and later in the frame Yasmani Grandal’s single plated two to give the Dodgers a 6-0 advantage. Joc later added a two-run single in the eighth inning and the Dodgers went up by an 8-0 score.

The real story of the game was Hill’s dominant pitching. When Hill is healthy and spinning that curveball he can be really tough to hit. The Braves were flummoxed all night by his expert level of curveballing. I don’t know if Curveballing is a word but it’s something that Hill is quite adept at.

With the win the Dodgers improve to 57-46 and 4-3 on this current trip. The series continues tomorrow as Clayton Kershaw takes the mound for the Dodgers. The Barves, I mean the Braves send right hander Mike Foltynewicz to the bump who has a name that I can’t pronounce or spell. First pitch is scheduled for 4:35 PM PST.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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51 thoughts on “Rich Hill, Dodgers Bash Braves in Opener

  1. Nice win. Good to see Manny get his first HR as a Dodger and blazing on the bases. If only Puig could run the bases like Manny.

    We saw some clutch hitting driving in runs. Atlanta errors helped, too. Some of the worst throws I’ve ever seen from Albies. Nice game from Verdugo and Grandal. Muncy looking lost and Hill in top form. My only complaint is the relief of Hudson and Baez. Hudson is still on my questionable list. Giving up a HR is a no-no for any late inning reliever. He’s got good stuff and speed so his auditioning is extended. Baez is just plain weak to me. He looks unsure of himself. I can see the logic of using these 2 with an 8-0 lead. Nothing really to lose. Hudson blew his turn.

    1. I just posted this elsewhere:

      Regarding all the Baez hate:

      I just perused his advanced stats and I think I’ve ID’d the problem. Command. His stuff is good, always has been, but he relies on his 4 seamer (97 mph) too much (60%) and he misses in the strike zone with it. He used to throw a cutter, abandoned it in ‘15, and only throws a change up 9% of the time. He has a 2 seamer (88.4 mph) that has a decent swing and miss rate, a slider (95.9 mph) but in fastball counts he too often relies on his 4 seamer. The answer is staring him in the face. Throw the 97 mph letters and above and throw the two seam sinker right down the middle – the break will take it down and to the edges. He did that twice last night for strikes then tubed something that was banged off the wall.

      Honeycutt knows this. It must frustrate the hell out of him that this guy has this kind of stuff and makes so many mistakes with it. Still, as bad as he is he maintains a decent ERA (3.3 this year, 3.08 lifetime) a 3.29 FIP, low HR/9 (0.6) a + WAR and makes only $1.5mm. Give him the low leverage innings until he learns command. The guy has closer stuff. Teach him Rick.

  2. From Rumors:

    “Even still, it should worry the Dodgers that this approach has taxed their bullpen for 386 innings, which is tied for fourth-most in MLB. That workload could come back to bite them if they go deep into October.

    Adding a reliever would be the most direct way to address this issue. But if the Dodgers can find a solid innings-eater to plug into their rotation, that would work, too.”

    A solid innings eater. Look how easy 7 innings made it look last night. Another starter would accomplish what another reliever would. Who’s available?

    1. Badger

      Baez’s problem is mental more then anything, and that probably affects his command.

      He probably has a self fulfilling prophecy in his mind, when he pitches at times.

      That is so obvious, because Roberts thinks if he comes out and gives Baez, some confidence, he will pitch better, but that has gotten mixed results from Baez.

      I don’t know why the Dodgers have not made him go see a good sport’s psychologist, that would be pennies on the dollar, if that helps Baez become more confident in his self.

      1. Sports psychologist is a good idea.

        Wish I could throw 97, and 89 with sink. Just go up and down with those two pitches in the zone for 1 inning and life will be good. $1.5 million a year to pitch 50 innings. Talk to the doc Peedro.

      1. Problem is we can’t consistently beat the teams that supposedly are not very good….. Phillies come to mind

          1. Badger

            You know better then that!

            Name a team in the National League that is dominating in their league, this year?

            The Cubs just lost their best hitter to the DL, but I don’t know how long he will be out.

            I have never thought the National League east has been that good, in the last few years.

            And that is why all the National’s players have had such great numbers in the last few years, and that is because the Nats don’t do well, in the post season.

        1. I agree with Tim, that we haven’t dominated any team this year.

          But I also think all of the teams in the National League, have just been beating up, on each other.

          There is no team that really sticks out, and has dominated, including the Dodgers.

          It will be interesting to see what we do against the top pitchers in the Brewers rotation, because the pitching we faced in that first series, was terrible.

          1. I think that at this point in the season to say a first place club is not good is disingenuous. However they did it, they just beat us and have a better record. If the post season started today, guess where we go to start play?

            That said, I think we will end the season with a better record. But I won’t be surprised if Philadelphia wins the East. Washington is a mess and who believes in the Braves?

  3. Dodgers still targeting relievers on the trade front. They have been heavily scouting the Rays and Marlins naturally. Nats might become sellers if they do not turn it around. Rumor is that they will let teams know over the weekend. Yanks lose Judge for a month. Puig to return this weekend, rumors are out there that Yasiel can be had for the right package. Hill looked good. I still think he is nothing more than a journeyman pitcher and not a top of the line guy. He has his moments, but most of them are bad.

      1. They would have to be. He is better than anyone, sans Cespedes, they have out there and YC is out for the year. They are repeatedly saying the Degrom and Syndergaard are not on the block unless they are overwhelmed by an offer. FAZ would have to be really creative to pull that off. I think they are more interested in another lock down arm.

    1. Badger

      I didn’t say we wouldn’t have a better record.

      I said because non of the teams in the National League this year are that good, we will probably do fine, in the regular season.

      I don’t see much difference in the Braves and the Phillies, except I think the Braves have more veteran players with talent, then the Phillies have, like Freddie Freeman.

      And I don’t see the same kind of competition in the National League east, like I see in the National League West, and because of that, I don’t take their record, quite as seriously, at this point of the season.

      Because I don’t see as much talent on these other teams, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if the Nats don’t make it to the post season either, because it wouldn’t be the first time, in the last few years.

    1. Big Greg did that huh? Wow, I remember when the Dodgers drafted his kid, Ryan. Never got past AAA ball…..

  4. Braves acquired LHP Jonny Venters. Y’all remember him. Has had elbow issues since 2013. Cardinals DFA Greg Holland and trade reliever Sam Tuivailala to the Mariners. Hamels deal with Cubs has Texas paying 3 mil of his contract and all of the 6 million dollar buyout putting the Cubs on the hook for “0” dollars on the CBT. Jets start practice and Sam Darnold has still not signed.

  5. Report out that Dodgers have no deals on the table right now, but they are heavily engaged in talks with Miami…..

  6. OH! There must be some kind of mistake. Dummy has outsmarted himself, he has the same lineup as yesterday except Kershaw. I bet he doesn’t know it or is drinking or something.

  7. Rumors now surfacing that the Dodgers have been in contact with the Nationals concerning Bryce Harper…….uh, if DC decides to trade people, LA has surfaced as the most likely destination for Harper. Again, I will believe it if I see it. Until then, nothing but a rumor.

    1. I buy LA being a fit. But Harper’s contract puts them way over the cap. Also, no organization needs Harper more than Washington does. They’ll want him back.

    2. OK, Puig, Forsythe, and Grandal for Harper. And, Badger, don’t tell me you never trade catchers mid-season. With Harper, we can afford two of Barnes, Farmer, or Smith instead of All or nothing Grandal.
      Another subject: I cannot believe the number of people who believe Manny will sign here. Or even that FAZ will really try to sign him. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny must be more popular than I thought…

      1. Santa Claus? Easter Bunny? What are you implying?

        They won’t trade Grandal. He, like Kiké, is a favorite son.

        Harper got the record arbitration settlement in ‘18. I believe it was $21.65mm. How you gonna fit $21.65 into a $5 sack?

        1. Grandal, Puig, and Forshyte in trade make that a $20 MM sack..And I know they wouldn’t want those players in trade, they’d want prospects. Just wishful thinking…

          1. That’s pretty good.

            Grandal last August- .216/.293/.432. 23Ks, 8 BB 74 ABs

            Grandal last Sept/Oct – .154/.269/.369. 28 Ks 65 ABs.

            We’ve seen this movie before.

          2. Yeah.

            I can’t imagine the Dodgers resign him, so I wonder what he’ll get on the open market.

        1. Package, I also don’t like Roberts but I cannot see anything at all wrong with giving Matt a game off every week or a couple of innings late in the game. He might even like it that way and I am sure it will help him keep his strength up over the long season. If that is all you have to complain about, you are indeed a lucky man.

          1. Jonah
            Why is it always Kemp? How about Manny? How about Muncie? I am sure there are many more. Rest is important but not just about every night. Give me a break. Dummy is the worst!

          2. Bluto, that is not the case this year. Kemp has been a lot better out there. They are keeping him fresh and I can understand that. Last night they had the game well in hand, pretty much the same thing tonight. Pack can’t understand that so he says Roberts is a dummy, but he is actually doing the 33 year old Kemp a favor

  8. How about age? Kemp’s got a lot of miles on him. He’s in shape, happy, and productive. Trying to keep him that way is not a bad strategy if we’re going into the post-season. If it were Manny getting limited PT, I would really be in up in arms. I don’t disagree with resting Kemp when they can.

    1. It’s my opinion that Pederson, Bellinger and Verdugo is currently our best defensive outfield. Late in the game, with a lead, why wouldn’t you go with your best defense?

      We’ve said it before, but apparently it doesn’t resonate with pack – we need a fresh Kemp in September and October. It makes sense to rest him.

      1. I am very happy seeing Verdugo in RF. He’s fast, has a great arm, and looks ready for action. He seems like a good base runner, too. Bellinger could be a plus at CF, but he’s a Plus, Plus, at 1B. Not sure how much difference it makes having Taylor or Bellinger in CF, but it makes a big difference having Bellinger over Muncy at 1B or any other base with Muncy on it. Muncy seems a defensive liability in the infield if we are talking sheer defense. Muncy cannot play 3B or SS, and I’m not plugging him into 2B.

        I think you nailed it when you said Muncy is a DH. If the NL gets the DH, Muncy is the perfect fit. If not, we will have a nice trading chip in acquiring a positional player.

        1. Muncy has had a bad week, .161/.229/.387, but I don’t know it means anything other than he may need some time off. To tell you the truth I’ve been expecting a drop off. A 1.000 OPS has always felt unsustainable to me. I mentioned the possibility of trading him, I think that was here, as his defense is something of a liability. Honestly I don’t know his value on the trade market. It may not be what Dodger fans think it is. In the mean time, he’s a first baseman.

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