It’ll officially be team No. 13 for Rich Hill as he takes on the Dodgers today in San Diego as a pair of trade deadline acquisitions face off at Petco Park.
After rallying to snap a 6-game losing streak against the Dodgers last night, the Padres sit 9 games behind Los Angeles in the National League West with 51 games remaining on their schedule. That’s a 2.5% to win the division and a 47.3% to make up the 2.5 games they currently trail and earn one of the three NL Wild Card spots.
While today will be Hill’s debut for the Padres, Lance Lynn‘s first outing for the Dodgers probably ranked around one of his best five in 2023. Going 7 innings for the fourth time this season, Lynn allowed three runs all on solo shots to the Oakland A’s, pretty much what you’d expect, while striking out 7 batters, the 10th time he’s reached that number this season.
Here’s where the two of them compare entering tonight as a reunion with Hill may have been an option for the Dodgers after how desperate they became at the deadline for literally any other arm that could throw a baseball well from the mound.
|4:00 P.M.||San Diego|
|CF||Outman (L)||1B||Choi (L)|
|P||Lynn (R)||P||Hill (L)|
With Max Muncy still out, Chris Taylor is at third for the third consecutive game against the Padres while Will Smith is on the bench as Austin Barnes starts at catcher for Lynn. Amed Rosario is back in the cleanup spot again as he’s still slashing .292/.320/.500/.820 in his 25 PAs as a Dodger despite going 0-for-3 last night. Jason Heyward and David Peralta will join Smith and Muncy on the bench today as the Dodgers continue to face left-handed pitchers.
Specifically, here’s the total recently courtesy of Eric Stephen.
They faced 7 LH starters in the previous 36 games before that— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) August 6, 2023
For the Padres, it’s the same batting order as yesterday with some tweaks to the positions. Manny Machado‘s move to designated hitter pushed Ji Man Choi to first, Jake Cronenworth to second and Ha-Seong Kim to third.
Here’s where Rich Hill is at 43 years old and after 22 starts with the Pirates in 2023.
As has been the case for basically nine years now, Hill uses his curve between 35 and 40% of the time with his four-seamer 35 to 55% of the time. It’s only down to the mid-30s now because while with the Red Sox and Pirates, Hill has started to mix in a cutter and sweeper a bit more often.
Hill hasn’t thrown any harder than around 90 to 91 since 2014, so his fastball sitting at 88 mph with a cutter at 83 mph and a sweeper at 69 mph mostly makes sense. It probably comes as no surprise that Hill’s sweeper is about 4 mph slower than the next lowest, Chris Bassitt‘s 73.1 mph, and his curve at 71.8 mph is only ahead of Bassitt’s 70.6 mph while tying with new Dodger Ryan Yarbrough‘s curve as well.
Hill, who unsurprisingly has faced all 30 teams at this point, last faced the Dodgers in 2021 after being traded from Tampa Bay to New York. Facing of with Max Scherzer, Hill allowed three runs on six hits in 5 innings. All three runs were solo homers, with Trea Turner, Albert Pujols and Taylor all doing so against fastballs. Hill’s only other start against the Dodgers, with the two easily being a career low against all teams, came all the way back in 2007 with 6 shutout innings for the Cubs.
While it was left-handed batters Lynn struggled against in 2023, his first outing for the Dodgers included a trio of home runs by right-handed batters. Two came against 91 mph fastballs with the other against an 88 mph cutter. Those were the only three hits Lynn allowed to right-handed batters in the game while five of his seven strikeouts and his lone walk made up nine of the 12 plate appearances for righties.
As for the left-handed batters, Lynn allowed two doubles and recorded the other two strikeouts in 15 plate appearances. Tony Kemp and Seth Brown combined for four outs on balls hit 94 mph or harder, but none of the four carried an xBA higher than .250.
It’s already been talked about plenty, but here’s a look at how the Dodgers had Lynn approach the A’s in his debut. First, for right-handed batters.
That’s a 25% usage of the curve, the highest Lynn has used against right-handed batters in 2023 and the most since he hit 38.2% on Aug. 31, 2022. Both instances are decent outliers compared to his usage over the past three seasons. It was also his lowest cutter usage against righties, 6.3%, in 2023 and the lowest percentage since pretty much the same total at 6.4% on Aug. 19, 2020.
For left-handed batters, the approach was pretty simplistic.
That’s 84.4% fastballs, nearly 25% higher that his previous peak of 60.8% back in April and Lynn’s highest usage of any one pitch to left-handed batters since throwing his sinker 88.0% on Sept. 7, 2017. He came close with the fastball at 81.3% on Sept. 29, 2018, but this is clearly an outlier for 2023. While he’s limited usage of his change, slider and sinker at various times this season, the cutter’s previous low was 8.8% on April 6 and then 12.8% on June 13. Against the Athletics, Lynn threw the pitch once to a lefty. Combined with his usage against right-handed batters, that was a total of 4.3% in the game overall and the lowest total since 2018.
Of the four cutters he threw, two ended at-bats with those going for a double and a homer. With Lynn’s four-seamer at the lowest horizontal break of his career (2.9 inches), it’s actually below the cutter for the first time (3.0 inches) ever.
Lynn faced the Padres in his regular season finale last year, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk in 7 innings. A homer by Kim was the lone run allowed.
As for today’s news, Clayton Kershaw is on track to return next week.
Clayton Kershaw threw another bullpen session today, and is on track to make his return to the Dodgers rotation sometime this week— Jack Harris (@ByJackHarris) August 6, 2023
TBD if it will be in Arizona or back in LA against the Rockies
Since his last brief appearance in Los Angles, Hudson has pitched in 7 games for Oklahoma City with 9 strikeouts to 5 walks across 7 innings. Six of those outing were scoreless, but one 5 run outing without recording an out on July 19 ballooned up his season ERA from 1.78 to 3.06 before dropping it back down to 2.61 when he last pitched on Aug. 3.
First pitch from San Diego is scheduled for 4 p.m. on ESPN.