Dodgers @ Nationals NLDS Game 4: Hill vs. Scherzer

After a come from behind 10-4 win last night, the Dodgers are poised to end the series against the Nationals on the road. They’ll have a tough task ahead of them as they’ll be facing a Cy Young candidate in Max Scherzer. Rich Hill will take the mound for the Dodgers, looking to continue his run of playoff dominance dating back to 2016.

Dodgers
Nationals
3:40 p.m.
Washington D.C.
RF
Pederson
SS
Turner
1B
Muncy
RF
Eaton
3B
Turner
3B
Rendon
CF
Bellinger
LF
Soto
SS
Seager
2B
Kendrick
LF
Beaty
1B
Zimmerman
2B
Lux C Suzuki
C
Smith
CF
Taylor
P
Hill (L)
P
Scherzer (R)

The Dodgers will roll out a very similar lineup as yesterday, with the exceptions being that Matt Beaty will replace the struggling A.J. Pollock in left, while Will Smith will start over Russell Martin. When you get to my breakdown of Scherzer below, his platoon splits will be explained further, but in simplest terms — the left-handed studs on the team need to hit. It’ll be a tough matchup for Justin Turner and Smith, so the stars this team has in Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger need to perform.

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Scherzer is among the 61 qualified starting pitchers, so here’s where he ranks among that group.

Scherzer is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He led baseball in FIP, while setting a career high in strikeout rate and the second lowest walk rate of his career. He made an appearance out of the bullpen in game two, striking out the side on just 14 pitches. He absolutely dominates right-handed batters, but has been surprisingly mediocre against left-handed batters. Normally with aces you would expect to see minimal platoon splits, but Scherzer has allowed a .763 OPS against left-handed batters, compared to .527 against right-handed batters. That’s a 1.32 WHIP and 3.52 FIP against left-handed batters, compared to a .80 WHIP and 1.62 FIP against right-handed batters. It’s a tough task regardless, but it’s possible to get to Scherzer.

On the other hand, Rich Hill will need to limit any possible damage while the offense looks to get to Scherzer. Hill threw just 58.2 innings this season due to a multitude of injuries. Over his last two starts since returning to the rotation, he’s struck out nine while allowing just one hit over five innings. He isn’t fully built up to go deep into a game, so the goal is likely for him to hold off the Nationals over the first four innings or so. Over his three postseasons with the Dodgers, he has allowed just 14 runs over 47.1 innings, good for a 2.68 ERA while striking out 60. Of all the pitchers the Dodgers have had throughout their recent runs, he’s been the most consistent performer in the playoffs.

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In other news,

Unless Pollock was really hitting the ball well, he was likely never going to start against Scherzer. Still, the team will need Pollock to perform eventually this postseason.

Definitely would not mind Pederson repeating this tonight.

This isn’t fantastic, but to be fair nobody hits Scherzer well.

At this point, anyone on the list above should be available tonight as long as it isn’t Joe Kelly.

Rich Hill is a legend and Andy is a fantastic writer. If you have a subscription to the Athletic, check this piece out.

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First pitch is at 3:40 PT on TBS.

About Allan Yamashige

Allan Yamashige
Just a guy living in Thousand Oaks, CA who happens to love the Dodgers and statistics. Hated baseball practice as a kid, but writing about adults doing baseball is alright.