Heading into the Freeway Series at Dodger Stadium, the final games for the Los Angeles Dodgers before the All-Star break, the club was expected to start Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill.
That plan left Alex Wood to pitch out of the bullpen for his final appearance in the first half. Buehler, who returned from the 10-day disabled list, took the ball in Friday’s series opener as expected.
However, in the hours leading up to first pitch, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Kershaw was pushed back to Sunday, with Wood starting Saturday.
The switch left Hill to appear out of the bullpen over the weekend. Roberts maintained the change was not related to health issues, via Kaelen Jones of MLB.com:
Hill tossed a season-high seven innings during his previous start against the Padres on Wednesday. Roberts assured that Hill “has no issues” despite skipping his turn.
Although Hill went seven innings and recorded seven strikeouts his last time out, he allowed four runs on eight hits, including two home runs, in a loss to the San Diego Padres.
On the season, the veteran left-hander is 2-4 with a 4.64 ERA, 4.90 FIP and 1.36 WHIP in 11 starts. Hill again was forced to the DL because of blisters but is said to have put the trouble behind him.
While he was dealing with another bout with the blisters, pitching out of the bullpen is an idea Hill floated if it meant doing what was best for the team. It was something the Dodgers gave consideration to last season.
That may come to fruition after the All-Star break, should the club maintain six healthy starters. Of the options, Hill has arguably been the most inconsistent.
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