Dodgers: An Opening Series Preview of the Best Rivalry in Baseball
By Drew Gabruch
Game Four – Rich Hill vs Chris Stratton
Rich Hill has not been unfamiliar with success over the past couple years now. He has been around the league and, in terms of competition, he has played at the lowest of lows and the highest of highs – some having been very recent. What we do know about Rich Hill is that he feeds off of his mix of pitches. Once Rich can establish his sharp variations of curveballs, he becomes extremely lethal. He will work quick and mow you down if you let him settle in early, which is exactly how he plans on starting his 2018 season debut.
One key thing for Rich to remember, when facing the San Francisco lineup, throw difficult strikes to the meat of the order (1 through 5). If he can spot his pitches on the perimeter of the plate, he should have good amounts of success. A few San Francisco bats have gotten to Rich in the past, so there is the requirement of him to attack them with a solid plan, and with precision.
There is not a lot when it comes to Chris Stratton, and that is not a knock on him, he just has yet to fully establish himself in the eyes of the Major League Baseball community. But maybe it is the low key profile of Stratton that could carry him toward a nice early season showing when he wraps up the opening series finale against the Dodgers.
He does have a lot to prove, even while currently holding a sub-3.70 career ERA, but that is definitely a nice starting point. Historically, a batter who is unfamiliar with a pitcher could struggle to begin with; you add in the early season cobwebs that may need to come out still, and you could be looking at a potentially intriguing outing for Chris Stratton. As long as pitch location is in-check, he might not yield much for opponent production.
True to a relatively fresh face, there have not been sample sizes that are large enough to dig much into the numbers against Stratton. Really, if you are the Dodgers, you just want to jump on him early and hope that you have worn down some bullpen arms throughout the course of the series to have a good chance at really breaking through to start off the new season.