Hill finishes strong in final prep for postseason

Hill finishes strong in final prep for postseason

SAN FRANCISCO -- Next to the AT&T Park locker of Brandon McCarthy, who probably won't pitch in the National League Division Series, is the locker of Rich Hill, who starts Game 2 for the Dodgers against the Nationals.

Before McCarthy's comeback from Tommy John surgery was marred by the six runs he allowed Friday in the Dodgers' 9-3 loss to the Giants, Hill tuned up with four scoreless innings after allowing a pair of runs in the first and said his persistent blisters were "no issue."

"In the first inning, failing to get the first batter out, you get out of order," Hill said. "Overall, I feel great, the ball came out pretty well. It wasn't the best fastball or the best curveball, but one of those games you find a way to get through it and keep the team in the game. I felt stronger as the game went on.

"[I'm] understanding there was probably kind of a point where they wanted to keep myself fresh to move on to the playoffs. There are games that you have to grind through it and today was one of those days."

Manager Dave Roberts said he's ready to send Hill into the postseason.

"If you look at a positive from tonight, we got Rich's pitch count up," said Roberts. "He left the breaking ball up a little early, but after he settled down, it's just every time he's on the mound I feel good about our chances."

Roberts said Hill became more effective when he began throwing more fastballs.

"These guys he faced before [three times in his six starts with the Dodgers] and they seemed a little bit like they were sitting soft," Roberts said. "That's fine, Rich understands what gets guys out. He gave up ground balls that tonight just found holes. But I really thought he pitched well."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.