Lefty goes 6 strong, fans 9 to rebound from previous start
By Joshua Thornton
LOS ANGELES -- As the Dodgers continue to try and figure out how to break out of this recent 1-9 slump over their last 10 games, they can look to Rich Hill's outing on Monday night and draw some positives.
The D-backs came to Dodger Stadium and took the series opener, 13-0, on a night when Arizona belted six homers, with four of them coming from J.D. Martinez. The six homers the Dodgers gave up tied for the most in Dodger Stadium history by a visiting team, since the Reds also hit six on Aug. 2, 2001.
Despite being one of four pitchers to serve up a homer to Martinez, Hill left the mound with a much better showing than his previous eight-hit, six-run outing in Arizona. During a stretch where the Dodgers' starters gave up 18 runs over three games in their last series vs. the D-backs, manager Dave Roberts thought the outing from Hill was an encouraging sign and his confidence has not wavered.
"I can assure you that we're going to win a game again," Roberts said. "I know that and the tide will turn."
Hill flashed the same dominance he showed when he nearly tossed a perfect game against the Pirates on Aug. 23. The 37-year-old struck out seven of the first 10 batters he faced and finished the night allowing two runs with nine strikeouts in six innings on 87 pitches.
The southpaw used his signature curveball to mow down the D-backs' lineup until Martinez made him pay the second time he faced him. Hill left an 88-mph fastball over the plate and Martinez didn't miss, launching Hill's pitch a projected 436 feet to left field, according to Statcast™, for a two-run shot in the fourth inning.
"Balls out over and he's going to hurt you," Roberts said about Martinez. "He took four good swings tonight and he had a heck of a night."
Hill added: "Austin [Barnes] did a great job behind the plate tonight. You tip your hat to Robbie Ray and J.D. Martinez, those guys had unbelievable outings. But the curveball was good tonight, the fastball was good."
The Dodgers aren't ready to hit the panic button despite this recent slide and don't plan on changing any of their normal routines going forward. Even with Monday's blowout loss, Roberts sees a shift coming and it starts with the performance Hill put on Monday.
"You win and go deep in the postseason with starting pitching in my opinion," Roberts said. "To have Rich [Hill] reset our starters and have an outing like this tonight, I think that's a good sign for all of us. We expect [Hyun-Jin] Ryu to do the same thing tomorrow."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.