Dodgers 1, Giants 0: Rich Hill makes great first impression

Rich Hill‘s Dodger debut couldn’t have gone any better, as he showed exactly why the team traded for him in a 1-0 Dodger win on Wednesday night.

Hill, who hadn’t pitched in a Major League game since July 17, baffled the Giants’ hitters tonight: 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 81 pitches, 63 strikes, 6/5 GO/AO. Because he hadn’t pitched in five weeks, Hill was on a pitch limit. I’m surprised he went as long and was as effective as he was. If this is a sign of things to come, I like it. If only the front office had acquired a good player at the trade deadline…

The offense was stifled by Johnny Cueto, who turned in a dynamite performance of his own: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R/ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 94 pitches, 65 strikes, 4/4 GO/AO. The only run he allowed was to Justin Turner, who hit a solo home run (98 MPH, 387 feet, 28 degrees) in the fourth inning. It was his team-leading 24th of the season. He added a single later on and continues to be one of the hottest hitters in the National League.

Pedro Baez (wha?!) and Adam Liberatore combined for a scoreless seventh inning, but things got interesting in the eighth behind Joe Blanton. He got Eduardo Nunez to fly out for the first out before walking Angel Pagan in what wasn’t much of a battle (five pitches). With Buster Posey up (and hurting, apparently), Blanton got a somewhat generous strike three call on a check swing. Hunter Pence single to right-center field next, and with Brandon Crawford due up and Grant Dayton ready in the bullpen, Dave Roberts elected to stick with Blanton. He got ahead of Crawford 0-2 on two curveballs. Then he threw a third and Crawford gave it a ride — 372 feet, in fact — but the heavy air of Chavez Ravine kept in the yard.

Roberts could have gone to Dayton or, even better, Kenley Jansen, but he stuck with Blanton (and I’m not even sure Jansen was up in the bullpen). Oh well, it worked out, and Jansen ended up working an uneventful ninth for his 37th save of the season.

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On the two ongoing streaks, Corey Seager had his 14-game hitting streak snapped, while Adrian Gonzalez extended his to 17 games.

The Dodgers improve to 71-55 on the season and move three games ahead of the Giants in the division. Ross Stripling (4.04 ERA, 3.77 FIP) takes on Matt Moore (4.18 ERA, 4.52 FIP) in the series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific time.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.