Dodgers @ Giants September 30, 2018: Dodgers turn to Hill with a chance to pass the Rockies

(Via)

The Dodgers clinched a playoff berth with their win yesterday, but they’re not in a position for a fun hangover lineup, as today’s game is still mighty important. The Dodgers and Rockies have identical 90-71 records. If both teams win or both team lose today, they will play a game 163 at Dodger Stadium tomorrow. The winner of that game would win the NL West and play the Braves in the NLDS, the loser would turn around and play in the Wild Card game on Tuesday, either in Chicago or in Milwaukee. If the Dodgers win and Rockies lose, the Dodgers win the West. If the Rockies win and the Dodgers lose, the Rockies win the West.

The Dodgers aren’t counting on help, as the Nationals scratched Max Scherzer from today’s start and will instead throw Erick Fedde, a 25 year old with a 5.24 ERA this season. To counter, the Dodgers scratched Walker Buehler and will instead start Rich Hill, preserving Buehler for a game where all that will matter is a Dodger victory (game 163 or the Wild Card game).

Dodgers
Giants
12:05 PM
San Francisco
LF
Taylor
RF
Pence
3B
Turner
2B
Panik
1B
Freese
3B
Longoria
SS
Machado
C
Hundley
CF
Hernández
SS
Crawford
RF
Kemp
1B
Garcia
C
Grandal CF Hernandez
2B
Dozier
LF
Blanco
P
Hill (L)
P
Suarez (L)

Hill had struggled of late. He’s gotten the win in each of his last four outings, but he allowed four runs in each of his first three September starts. He bounced back nicely in his last outing, allowing one run in seven innings against the Padres on September 22. Hill has been decent overall this season, with a 3.87 ERA/4.12 FIP in 125 2/3 innings. Most of his struggles came early on, as Hill is 8-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 70 1/3 innings since the All Star Break. Hill’s first two starts of the season came against the Giants, but he hasn’t seen them since then. Hill tossed six scoreless innings against the Giants at Dodger Stadium in his 2018 debut, but followed it up by allowing three runs in four innings at AT&T park. This is a very different Giants team now than it was in April, as all three of those runs came off the bats of Andrew McCutchen (a clean-shaven Yankee now) and Buster Posey (hip surgery, which seems bad for a catcher that will be 32 next season).

Hoping to prevent a sweep and prevent the Dodgers from taking the season series from the Giants is Andrew Suarez. The 26-year-old rookie is making his 29th start of the season, but is still four innings away from becoming a qualified starter. He’s 7-12 with a 4.22 ERA/4.26 FIP. Most of Suarez’s success this season has come at home, where he has a 3.18 ERA and 1.034 WHIP in 13 starts. Suarez throws the ball with his left hand, so he dominated the Dodgers in his only start against them so far. Suarez tossed six shutout inning at Dodger Stadium on August 14, working around a bases loaded jam in the first inning and allowing only two more baserunners for the next five innings. Suarez throws a fastball that averages 92.1 mph more than 50 percent of the time and mixes in a slider, curveball and changeup.

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Being pushed to the Wild Card would be sub-optimal, but it could be an even bigger issue if they get there by losing a game 163.

Buehler could start that game 163, but if they lose they’d be in a really tricky spot for the Wild Card game. It seems like they’re leaning that way, so they should probably just win the division, IMO.

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Since baseball loves stress and chaos, all games will begin at 12:05 PST today. They are all free on MLB TV, but blackouts still apply.

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.