Dodgers News: Rich Hill In Position For Redemption Against Nationals In Game 2
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series, the Washington Nationals face another left-hander, though in a much different form than Clayton Kershaw. Where Kershaw resorts to a fastball and sharp slider, Rich Hill spins breaking balls from multiple arm angles.

There’s an added layer of familiarity between Hill and the Nationals, as he was a reliever with the club’s Triple-A affiliate for a portion of last season. He ultimately asked for his release. “I just didn’t see it working out here in Washington,” Hill said Friday.

“You know, players have outs in their contracts that are mutual to say, you know, if you would like to go somewhere else, if you think it would work out somewhere else, you’ve earned the right, so be it, best of luck both ways. So that had happened.”

Hill tinkered with his arm angle, threw multiple bullpen sessions, and was encouraged to resume pitching as a starter. He joined the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League for two starts, then latched on with the Boston Red Sox organization.

He reached the Majors in September, made four starts, and rode that momentum into 2016.

In six starts with the Dodgers, Hill went 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA, 214 ERA+ and 39 strikeouts in 34.1 innings. He faced the San Francisco Giants three times, and commented after the first that Dodger Stadium had a playoff-type atmosphere.

That lent well to Hill’s personality of pitching with intensity and passion. He’ll carry that over into Game 2 of the NLDS, his second career postseason start, but will otherwise treat the outing like any other.

“I’m not looking at it as, you know, this larger than any other regular-season game,” he said. “Because somebody told me, you prepare so the occasion rises to you, not that you have to rise to the occasion.”