Nationals @ Dodgers May 9, 2019: Hill vs Corbin to open the series

The Dodgers remained hot last night, completing a sweep of the Braves and picking up their fourth straight victory. The Dodgers are 15-4 at Dodger Stadium, where they will play their next six games. The first of four with the Nationals is tonight, and the Nats are pretty much the opposite of the Dodgers at this point. At 14-22, Washington currently sits in fourth place in the NL East. Their .389 winning percentage is only better than three other teams in baseball: Miami, Kansas City and Baltimore. That’s not great company to be in for a team that had playoff aspirations heading into the year.

Nationals
Dodgers
7:10 p.m.
Los Angeles
LF
Eaton
CF
Hernández
RF
Robles
3B
Turner
3B
Rendon
RF
Bellinger
1B
Kendrick
1B
Freese
2B
Dozier
2B
Muncy
C
Gomes
SS
Seager
SS
Difo LF Taylor
CF
Taylor
C
Martin
P
Corbin (L)
P
Hill (L)

Rich Hill gets his third start of the season tonight. In his first start, Hill was only charged with one earned run over six innings but allowed four unearned runs after a Max Muncy error led off a four-run second inning for the Pirates. In his last start, Hill only completed four innings and allowed seven hits and three runs in San Diego. In each game, an opponent has taken Hill deep twice. In the first game, Melky Cabrera homered twice. Last time out, Manny Machado donged twice off Hill. Hill technically started against the Nats once last season. Hill took the mound in Washington on May 19 in the second game of a doubleheader and threw two pitches to Trea Turner before being removed with a blister.

Washington’s big free agent signing of the offseason, Patrick Corbin, gets the ball tonight. The Dodgers should be familiar with Corbin, who pitched the first seven years of his career in Arizona. The lefty is making his eighth start of the season tonight. In six of his first seven, Corbin completed six innings or more and allowed three runs or fewer. His worst outing came against the Cardinals, who scored six runs in five innings off Corbin. He recovered in his last start, as he held the Phillies to three runs in six innings. Corbin’s served up six dongs this season, but three of them came in one game against the Mets.

Last season, Corbin put up a nice contract year that led to a 6-year, $140 million deal with the Nats. He saw the Dodgers four times last year and the Dodgers couldn’t seem to figure him out. In his first look at the Dodgers, Corbin matched a season-high with 12 strikeouts in 7 1/3 shutout innings. The Dodgers saw him in consecutive starts in May and scored one run in each game off Corbin, who pitched six and five innings, respectively. Corbin began the month of September with a five-inning shutout against the Dodgers. Despite their inability to hit Corbin, the Dodgers beat Arizona in three of those four games.

Corbin primarily throws a slider, sinker and four-seam fastball. Those three pitches make up more than 90 percent of his pitches so far in 2019, with a curveball and changeup mixed in. It’s obviously still early, but Corbin currently has the lowest groundball rate (44.8 percent) and the highest fly ball rate (27.6 percent) of his career. He’s also allowing a higher average exit velocity than he ever has at 91 MPH, up 3 MPH from last season.

Corbin is left-handed, so the Dodgers have some changes in the lineup. They still have three lefties in the lineup, but Joc Pederson and Alex Verdugo sit. David Freese and Chris Taylor start, and Russell Martin catches Hill for the third time in three starts this season. He’s not in the lineup but the Nats did sign Gerardo Parra, who was released by the Giants.

——

Bullpen reinforcements may be coming soon.

Tony Cingrani pitched a scoreless inning for Oklahoma City today.

Caleb Ferguson‘s rehab assignment will begin tomorrow in Rancho. The Dodgers have Julio Urias and Scott Alexander as left-handed bullpen options already, so it’ll be interesting to see how they manage the roster when Ferguson and Cingrani are ready to return.

About Alex Campos

Alex Campos
I've been writing about the Dodgers since I graduated from Long Beach State, where I covered the Dirtbags in my senior year. I'm either very good or very bad at puns.