Dodgers @ Cardinals September 15, 2018: Hill vs. Gant for the series win

After winning the first two games of what might be the most important series of the year, the Dodgers look to secure a series win this morning against the St. Louis Cardinals. Walker Buehler pitched the best game of his young career last night striking out nine over eight scoreless allowing only two hits. While that was happening, Chris Stratton threw a two hit complete game shutout against the Rockies. The Dodgers (81-67) are now tied with the Cardinals in the second wild card spot, and half a game behind Colorado (81-66). Rich Hill will take the mound today against 26 year-old John Gant. Welcome to game 149.

Dodgers
Cardinals
10:05 AM
St. Louis
LF
Pederson
CF
Bader
3B
Turner
RF
Martinez
SS Machado
SS
DeJong
1B
Muncy
LF
Ozuna
C Grandal
3B
Gyorko
CF
 Bellinger
1B
Wisdom
RF
Puig 2B Wong
2B
Utley
C
Molina
P
Hill (L)
P
Gant (R)

The Dodgers use almost an identical lineup to yesterday, with the only change being Chase Utley getting his 34th start of the year. This Dodgers lineup features five left-handed hitters against the right-handed Gant. The only three right-handed hitters are Manny Machado and Justin Turner who start everyday regardless of the pitcher, and Yasiel Puig who hit two homers yesterday, one off a left-handed pitcher. Gant has allowed a .660 OPS against left-handers, compared to a .560 OPS against right-handed hitters. The Cardinals made a few moves, the main being removing potential NL MVP Matt Carpenter against the left-handed Hill.

——

Hill and Gant have both been pretty good this year. Neither has been super overwhelming this year, but both have been better as of late. Here’s how they compare out of 130 pitchers that have logged 100 innings:

Since the All-Star break, Hill has a 3.24 ERA/3.41 FIP over 58.1 innings/10 starts with a 6-1 record over that stretch. He’s been striking out 28.9% of the hitters he’s faced, which is good for 14th of 132 pitchers. That same rate is second on the Dodgers behind Clayt–I mean Walker Buehler (30.4%). Opponents are hitting just .205 off Hill since the ASB, and in turn Hill has a minuscule WHIP of 1.05 good for 26th in the league and third on the team. Clayton Kershaw has a 0.93 WHIP since the break good for ninth in the league, but still trails Buehler who is sixth in the league (0.91).

Respectively, since the break Gant is 4-2 over his 10 starts/53.2 innings. He features a 2.85 ERA/3.92 FIP over that stretch allowing just a .221 batting average and a 1.21 WHIP. Not as good as Hill, but still has been pitching well. He sits 92-94 MPH with his fastball which he throws over half the time (55.5%), mixing in a changeup (27.4%) as his main off-speed pitch in addition to a curveball he throws on occasion (11.7%).

——

Chad is remaining positive with 14 games to go. At the same time, it is impressive that three of the six Dodgers minor league affiliates won their respective league championships.

John Axford and Tony Cingrani are rejoining the team ahead of the next series against the Rockies. It’s just my opinion but with Kenley Jansen having a down year, health permitting Cingrani would’ve easily been the best reliever on the team. We’d have a better record in one run games with him. Hopefully he has a chance to contribute down the stretch.

The Rockies are going to have to face the Dodgers three best starters next week in the most important series of the year.

——

First pitch is at 10:05 AM PT on Fox.

About Allan Yamashige

Allan Yamashige
Just a guy living in Thousand Oaks, CA who happens to love the Dodgers and statistics. I'm currently studying at Moorpark Community College and plan on transferring into UC Santa Cruz's Business/Economics/Computer Science program. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about adults doing baseball is alright.