Giants @ Dodgers April 1, 2018: Easter Shadows

Photo: Stacie Wheeler

Our long national nightmare is over. The Dodgers scored multiple runs in last night’s game while Kenta Maeda shoved. The bullpen was excellent, Kyle Farmer and Logan Forsythe each made tremendous plays on defense, and the Dodgers got their first win of the season with a 5-0 victory. They can split the series with a win in the finale, as Rich Hill looks to continue to keep the Giants bats at bay.

Giants
Dodgers
5:37 PM
Los Angeles
CF
Jackson
CF
Taylor
2B
Panik
SS
Seager
RF
McCutchen
RF
Puig
C
Posey
C
Grandal
3B
Longoria
1B
Bellinger
LF
Pence
2B
Hernández
1B
Belt LF Pederson
SS
Crawford
3B
Farmer
P
Stratton (R)
P
Hill (L)

Corey Seager returns to the lineup after a night off last night. Forsythe gets the day off as Enrique Hernandez starts at second and Farmer starts at third. Joc Pederson will make his first start of the season tonight in left after two pinch hit appearances so far this season.

Hill’s season debut comes on the heels of a rough spring. In 12 1/3 spring innings, Hill allowed 17 hits and 10 earned runs and opponents hit .321 off him. He struck out 13 and didn’t walk a batter, so it may have just been some rotten luck. Hill struggling in the spring isn’t a new development, as his ERA has been over 6.00 in each of the last two years as well. Those years ended up pretty well for him, so it’s probably nothing to worry about. It was a little surprising to me so see Hill slotted in as the number four starter, but with how well Alex Wood and Maeda have thrown each of the last two days, it makes more sense.

Hill finished with a 12-8 record and a 3.32 ERA/3.72 FIP in 2017. While most of the Dodgers forgot how to play baseball in September, Hill finished off the season strong with a 1.85 ERA in four September starts. He fared well in his four playoff starts as well, but only completed five innings in one of those outings. Hill only went six or more innings in nine of his 25 starts last season, so expect the Dodger bullpen to be relied on again today. Through three games, no Dodger reliever has appeared more than once, and only Ross Stripling has thrown more than one inning. Wilmer Font is the only one not to be used yet, and Kenley Jansen is the only one to allow a run.

Hill allowed only one run in each of his three starts against the Giants last season. He got the win both times he faced the Giants at Dodger Stadium, and in 16 2/3 innings Hill struck out 18 and walked only three. Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt each took Hill deep last year, but they’re the only current Giants with home runs in their career against Hill.

Chris Stratton gets the ball for the Giants. He appeared in 13 games (10 starts) for the Giants last season and posted a 3.68 ERA/4.01 FIP in 58 2/3 innings. He made two relief appearances against the Dodgers in 2017. The first was a four inning outing after starter Ty Blach only lasted three innings. Stratton allowed five hits and three runs in his four innings, including a two-run homer to Yasmani Grandal. Grandal’s home run was the 212th home run of 2017 for the Dodgers, which set a new franchise record. The 2018 squad is still searching for its first homer.

Stratton showed flashes last year, striking out 10 batters in two starts against playoff teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals. He also struggled with control at times, walking five batters in two different starts. According to Brooks Baseball, Stratton threw a fastball 62.13 percent of the time.

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I was one of many hoping the Dodgers would hire Gabe Kapler two years ago. It’s early, but it seems like the Dodgers made the right choice by passing on him.

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Dustin ranked Johan Mieses as the 91st best prospect in the Dodgers organization. That slacker apparently doesn’t rank the Top 100 prospects of every team, but MLB Pipeline had Breyvic Valera as the Cardinals’ 30th-best prospect. Valera made his major league debut last season, but still has two option years left and was already optioned to Triple-A OKC. He’s only hit 14 home runs in eight minor-league seasons, but also has more walks than strikeouts and has stolen 88 bases. The 26-year-old switch hitter has primarily been a second baseman, but has played every position other than pitcher or catcher in his minor league career. Seems like a very Dodger-y player.

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Maeda seemed uncomfortable in his fifth and final inning last night, rubbing his back after multiple pitches. It seems like he’s healthy enough to make his scheduled start next week

First pitch is scheduled for 5:37 PM PST and will be shown only on ESPN.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I'm a writer that has blogged at a whole bunch of places about a whole bunch of sports. I was most recently writing for Chavez Ravine Fiends, but was also the former editor at Dodgers Way. I graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Marketing. At Long Beach, I covered the Dirtbags in the 2014 season as an assistant sports editor at the Daily 49er.