Looking to complete a two-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Los Angeles Dodgers leaned on left-hander Rich Hill in Wednesday’s finale at Tropicana Field. It was the 39-year-old’s fifth start of the regular season and fourth in the month of May.
Hill certainly did not disappoint, allowing just five hits and one run in six innings of work. His lone blemish — a solo home run off the bat of Rays outfielder Tommy Pham in the fourth inning — was the only source of offense for Tampa Bay through two-thirds of the game.
Hill departed the contest after six solid innings with the score all evened up at one apiece, positioning the Dodgers for a potential late-inning victory.
Such a plan never came to fruition, as the Los Angeles bullpen surrendered seven runs in the seventh inning to catapult the Rays to a lopsided 8-1 win.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was nonetheless impressed with Hill’s outing, highlighting his curveball and fastball as two quality pitches that kept the Rays’ lineup in check for most of the night, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“I thought he was really good, actually. He made the one mistake to Pham, it was a fastball that just kind of leaked back to the middle. But outside of that, honestly I thought the shape of the breaking ball was good all night, the fastball was really good. He gave up a bunt single and that squibber off the bat to the lefty and another ball off him/ So [Hill] commanded the fastball real well and for me, just where he was at, I thought he gave it all he had and unfortunately in the bullpen we didn’t get it done tonight.”
Despite Hill being tabbed with a tough luck no-decision, he can take solace in the fact that his recent stretch of quality starts was extended.
Prior to Wednesday’s outing, Hill was coming off his finest start of the season against the Cincinnati Reds on May 17. In six shutout frames, he allowed just two hits while striking out a season-best 10 batters at Great American Ball Park.
Over his last two starts, Hill has compiled a 1-0 record, 0.75 ERA and 0.75 WHIP with 17 strikeouts compared to two walks in 12 innings pitched.
Overall this season, the 39-year-old is 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA, 4.45 FIP and 1.07 WHIP in 27 innings. While he has struggled with the home run ball, Hill is striking out over 10 batters per nine and walking fewer than two per nine.