Unable to complete a sweep of the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series, the Los Angeles Dodgers will now look to close them out in Game 4. As expected, Rich Hill is slated to take the mound Monday afternoon at SunTrust Park.
The outing is Hill’s first since tossing seven shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 30. It was the second of back-to-back starts in which Hill logged that many innings.
His outings came at a time when the Dodgers were in need of wins in order to remain in contention for a sixth consecutive NL West title. Now, Hill looks to do his part in the team reaching a third consecutive NL Championship Series.
Naturally, the 38-year-old is looking forward to his opportunity, per Jorge Castillo and Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
“I’m excited,” Hill said. “We got to win. That’s it. It’s as simple as that. Go out there and attack. Pitch with conviction and have fun.”
While Hill is eager for the start, he’s mindful of remaining focused on his approach:
“They’re very aggressive. One of the things is, for me, not to veer off my game plan and make sure that I’m attacking with my two pitches. And that’s it — changing the shape of my breaking ball and throwing a lot of fastballs. It’s not a big surprise. Just go out there and execute.”
Through each of the first three games the Braves have stuck with an approach of swinging early in the count. The strategy didn’t pay off against Hyun-Jin Ryu and Clayton Kershaw, and the same could apply to Walker Buehler as the right-hander was primarily undone by a lack of command.
Hill is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in seven career postseason starts for the Dodgers. The team has won five of those contests, including winner-take-all Game 5 of the 2016 NLDS, and Game 6 of the 2017 World Series.