The Dodgers mashed taters in game two in Miami, but their pitcher stole the show.
The Dodgers finally beat Don Mattingly‘s Marlins after losing the first five games this season against them. They hit a bunch of homers they could have used yesterday, but the real star (and controversy) came on the hill.
Rich Hill had his third start as a Dodger, and it was his best outing yet. It’s generally difficult to top back-to-back six inning shutouts, but Hill did so today.
Not only did Hill toss seven shutout innings, but he did not allow a baserunner in that time either. Hill faced the minimum, striking out nine batters through seven and simply dominating from the get-go.
When Hill’s curveball is working, it really is a thing of beauty. It’s used more often than Clayton Kershaw‘s so it doesn’t really have that jaw-dropping aspect to it. However, his use of arm angles and ability to really sling that thing makes it a true sight to behold.
The controversy came after his seventh perfect inning. Hill was at 89 pitches, a mark he hadn’t hit since July 7th. He’s only started two games since then due to a blister (caused by overuse), so Dave Roberts took Hill out. Hill apparently* wasn’t happy about it, but it’s understandable.
*disclaimer- I did not watch the game. I was following it on Twitter while sitting at an AT&T store for an hour and a half. When I got home, I started watching football, since I know if I turned to the game Hill would immediately give up a hit. I am superstitious like that.
There are going to be takes. This is not the first time Roberts has pulled a pitcher in this situation, as he pulled Ross Stripling in a no-hitter back in April. Back then, it was obviously the right move (even though the Dodgers ended up losing the game), as Stripling was making his first career start and coming off Tommy John. This time? A lot more debatable. At 36, Hill deserves every chance he gets at history. However, he’s not exactly durable and the Dodgers didn’t acquire him to throw a perfect game in Miami, they got him to help them win in October. Agree with it or not, Roberts has guts.
For what it’s worth, if I was a manager I would have given Hill the eighth at least. But I’m not.
Miami starter Tom Koehler made quick work of the Dodgers through four innings, thanks in part to a pair of double plays. However, the Dodgers finally broke through in the fifth and sixth.
Joc Pederson UNLOADED a bomb to right in the fifth. It was a solo shot, but with Hill dealing, it seemed like all the Dodgers would need.
They added on in the sixth with two more homers. Corey Seager hit a two-run jack, and Justin Turner followed it up with a solo shot to make it 4-0. For good measure, Pederson added another homer in the seventh.
It wasn’t an offensive play, but Yasiel Puig deserves some recognition for his defensive play in the seventh.
At the time, this saved Hill’s perfect game and could have gone in the books as one of THOSE PLAYS. Not bad for a guy playing left for the second time in his career.
Joe Blanton inherited the perfect game, but gave up a two-out single in the eighth for the Marlins’ first hit. Blanton gave up the losing homer in Stripling’s effort in April, so while he’s mainly been nails for the Dodgers, maybe don’t throw him in no hitters.
It wasn’t a save situation, so Grant Dayton got the ninth. He allowed a pair of runners, but preserved the shutout.
More on Hill. Tough situation, but it is what it is. I’m sure Hill is pissed. I’m sure Roberts is pissed. They’ll need to move forward. Hill was absolutely dealing, and he still hasn’t allowed a run as a Dodger. If he keeps this up and the Dodgers go deep into October, this will all be an afterthought.
The Giants are currently beating the Diamondbacks, so the Dodgers will likely remain four games up. The magic number is down to 18, and the Dodgers have their 80th win of the season.