Giants @ Dodgers September 22, 2017: Hill for the NL West


The Dodgers (97-56) are back at Dodger Stadium for their last homestand of the regular season, starting with their final three games against the Giants (60-93). The Dodgers took two of three games when the teams faced in San Francisco last week, and L.A. is currently 9-7 on the season versus their archrivals. With just one win in these next three games, they’ll secure a season series victory over the Giants for the first time since 2014, and just the third time in the past ten seasons.

More importantly, one victory (or one Diamondbacks loss) is all that’s necessary for the Dodgers to clinch the division, as their magic number is down to one (with nine games left to go). Rich Hill (3.60 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 4.70 DRA) will try to help them make that happen tonight.

7:10 PM PT
Los Angeles
Sandoval 2B Utley
Samardzija (R)
Hill (L)

Hill has faced the Giants twice this season. In both starts, Hill allowed just one earned run, once in five innings and once in five and two-thirds innings. Hill’s been looking pretty good in September, and hasn’t allowed many runs (five in 16 IP), but he’s also not going super deep into games. Hill has not exceeded 88 pitches in any of his past four starts, suggesting extreme caution on the part of Dave Roberts and the Dodgers.

Hill’s opponent tonight is Jeff Samardzija (4.42 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 3.08 DRA), whose peripherals indicate that he ought to be having a better season than he is. While Samardzija has been a low-walk guy for much of his career, he’s never put up numbers as good in that category as he is this season. His 3.6 percent walk rate is the lowest of all qualified starters in baseball. He’s putting up respectable strikeout numbers, too, with a 24.5% K rate (about three percent better than league average). Samardzija has, however, been susceptible to the home-run ball, his HR/9 of 1.28 being 11th highest in the National League. Samardzija has faced the Dodgers just once this season, in May. He allowed one unearned run in eight innings, and struck out a season-high 11 batters.

Corey Seager, who missed yesterday’s game with a sore ankle, is back in the starting lineup, batting second. Justin Turner, who left yesterday’s game after being hit by a pitch in the chest/right hand, is not starting — but it turns out that’s more because he’s sickCurtis Granderson is batting cleanup, which I’m sure everyone will be very happy about and no one will have any objections to whatsoever.


Brandon McCarthy is back:

McCarthy went on the disabled list in July with a blister. He’s made four rehab starts, three with Rancho Cucamonga and one with Tulsa. In 17.2 IP, he’s allowed 12 runs (10 earned) on 20 hits and five walks while striking out nine. He’ll pitch in relief for the Dodgers.

Josh Ravin, the corresponding move, has been shut down for the remainder of the season due to hip and groin issues (Officially: An “abdomen strain“).

Some notes on a possible clinch either tonight or this weekend:

That said, it’s Tommy Lasorda‘s birthday today. The man in 90. Win it for him (even if he can’t stay awake to see it), why don’t you?

On that note: the D’backs are playing the Marlins in Arizona tonight, in a game starting at 6:40 PM Pacific. We’ll likely know the results of that before the Dodger game is over. If the Fish can somehow manage to get to Zack Greinke, L.A. may be celebrating a clinch tonight regardless of what they do in this game. (And yes, they’ll be celebrating, regardless of what mediocre comedian Jim Jefferies’ wishes may be.)

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now a reporter/producer for She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.