The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to reach 30 wins on Friday with their 6-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Moreover, the club extended their winning streak to four and continue to boast a 4.5 game lead over the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West. Rich Hill, pitching on eight days’ rest, dominated in what was his fourth start of the 2019 campaign.
In six shutout innings, he allowed just two hits while striking out a season-high 10 batters. Hill threw just 84 pitches in the outing — all but 20 of them for strikes.
He was presumably pulled after six innings due to the Dodgers’ commanding 5-0 lead at the time and his long layoff in between starts. Prior to Friday’s opener with the Reds, the 39-year-old’s last appearance came on May 9 against the Washington Nationals.
To compensate for the long layoff, Hill credited his preparation and work ethic in between starts that allowed him to put forth an efficient outing against the Reds, via SportsNet LA:
“Just preparing for the start. Some of those days in between, you can get a little bit off track and can hinder your workouts a little bit, so to speak. What I mean by that is taking days and not focusing in on certain workouts that you have to make sure you get your stuff in, get your work in to be prepared to stay ready … We had a good bullpen session in between. I think one of the things was really just getting back to the basics of everything and making sure, again, visualizing the ball coming out of my hand and going more downhill, making sure the ball has that carry through the zone. Where it has that late life, hop, or spin rate; whatever you want to call it these days. Making sure the ball was finishing through the zone and inducing late swings.”
After struggling in each of his previous two outings, Hill made sure to adjust properly. He threw more curveballs against the Reds after hardly deploying the pitch in a loss to the Nationals last week.
Moreover, Hill focused on improving his tempo and rhythm after being displeased with his pace in a rocky outing against the Padres earlier this month.
Hill’s projected next start will take place on Wednesday at Tropicana Field when the Dodgers conclude a two-game Interleague series with the Tampa Bay Rays.