With 161 games down and a finale one to go, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies are tied atop the National League West standings, making Sunday afternoon’s game the most important of the season.
Because of a potential Game 163 or Wild Card Game on the horizon, the Dodgers opted to save Walker Buehler for one of those scenarios, so Rich Hill gets the start against the San Francisco Giants instead.
It has been eight days since Hill last pitched as the team was saving him for a situation like this. In his last start against the San Diego Padres, Hill tossed seven innings of one-run ball while striking out seven.
Overall in 24 games (23 starts) this season, Hill is 10-5 with a 3.87 ERA, 4.12 FIP and 1.17 WHIP. He has 143 strikeouts compared to 41 walks in 125.2 innings. Since joining the Dodgers in 2016, Hill has dominated the Giants to the tune of a 4-1 record and 0.94 ERA in eight games.
Starting opposite Hill is 26-year-old rookie Andrew Suarez. The left-hander has made 28 starts this season, going 7-12 with a 4.22 ERA, 4.26 FIP and 1.27 WHIP while striking out 130 and walking 43 in 158 innings.
He started once against the Dodgers this season on Aug. 14 at Dodgers Stadium and tossed six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and three walks with four punch outs.
Suarez has had a lot more success at the friendly confines of AT&T Park than on the road this season, posting a 3.18 ERA in 13 starts on the road compared to 5.26 in 15 road starts.
He faces a Dodgers lineup that features a lot of hot bats though, and at the center of it all is Kiké Hernandez. He is 6-for-8 with a walk through the first two games on the series, and is batting .372/.451/.564 with three home runs in his last 28 games.
LF: Chris Taylor
3B: Justin Turner
1B: David Freese
SS: Manny Machado
CF: Kiké Hernandez
RF: Matt Kemp
C: Yasmani Grandal
2B: Brian Dozier
P: Rich Hill