Dodgers @ D-backs September 15, 2016: Hill brings 19-inning streak to desert

6:40 PM PST
Ethier CF  Haniger
Hill (L)
Bradley (R)

The Dodgers bumped their NL West lead back up to five games on Wednesday after they secured the series win in New York while the Padres completed a three-game sweep over the second-place Giants. They finish up the long road trip in Arizona for their final series against the D-backs, a four-game set, on Thursday night. The Dodgers have 17 games remaining on their regular season schedule, and the magic number to clinch the division for the fourth consecutive year is 13.

The six remaining games against San Francisco will be critical and stress-inducing, but a series win in the desert would be ideal going into the final homestand. Even though the D-backs are mired in last place and 23 games under .500, the Dodgers shouldn’t let them play spoilers. They have won 10 of 15 against Arizona this year, and a win on Thursday would be their fifth straight victory vs. the Snakes.

Rich Hill (12-3, 1.80 ERA, 2.30 FIP) pitched seven perfect innings in Miami last Saturday, but his bid for a perfecto was cut short by a controversial precautionary move by Dave Roberts. Arguments can be made for both sides, but hopefully the decision will pay off with a blister-free Hill for the postseason. This blister issue is being monitored very closely, and his fingers will be checked after every inning.

The talented left-hander has yet to surrender a run as a Dodger through 19 innings. His scoreless streak will be tested by a Arizona offense that has averaged 4.7 runs scored per game, fifth in the NL. Hill is 1-1 with a 4.13 ERA against the D-backs in four career starts. He had one disastrous start back in 2006 at Chase Field when he was with the Cubs early in his career. He allowed five runs on six hits, including two home runs in four innings. The only current Arizona players to have faced Hill are Rickie Weeks and Chris Herrmann with a single at-bat against him.

The Dodgers get a reprieve from struggling against left-handed pitching, their kryptonite, for a few days (they’ll face Robbie Ray on Sunday). Archie Bradley (6-9, 5.10 ERA, 4.51 FIP) has faced the Dodgers twice this year at Chase Field. He lost to the Dodgers on June 14, but the D-backs won 2-1 on July 16 with Bradley on the mound. He only allowed one run on six hits in six innings, but he wasn’t involved in the decision.

Howie Kendrick is hitting .571 against Bradley with four hits in seven at-bats, but he is not in the starting lineup. Andre Ethier is in left field for the second straight game. Mr. Arizona himself has always hit well in his hometown and has a .305 batting average with 81 career hits, including six home runs, at Chase Field in 73 games. Ethier and Andrew Toles are competing for a postseason roster spot.

Joc Pederson, starting in center field, has owned Arizona this season. He’s hit six home runs against them in 10 games, including two long balls off Bradley.

We can’t talk about being owned without including Paul Goldschmidt in the discussion. He has a career line of .324/.389/.591/.980 with 24 home runs against the Dodgers, but this year at least he’s only hitting .241/.302/.431/.733 with three home runs and 16 strikeouts against them.


Alex Wood is with the team.

In unfinished business news, the Dodgers sent outfielder Joey Curletta to the Phillies as the player to be named later in the A.J. EllisCarlos Ruiz trade. He hit .251/.323/.463/.786 with 17 home runs in 106 games between the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and AA-Tulsa this year.

Offense, please.

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About Stacie Wheeler

Stacie Wheeler, born and raised in So Cal, has been writing about the Dodgers since 2010. She wrote daily as the co-editor of Lasorda's Lair for five long years, and she has also written for Dodgers Nation, Dodger Blue 1958 and The Hardball Times. She currently contributes to True Blue LA. Stacie graduated from the University Of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in Cinema-Television. You can also watch her videos on her YouTube channel, DishingUpTheDodgers.