Preview: Rich Hill, Max Scherzer Square Off in NLDS Game 4

(USA TODAY Sports Photo)

One day after the Dodgers used a late-inning, nine-run explosion to defeat the Nationals in Game 3, they find themselves in a position to clinch the series in Game 4 on Monday.

However, instead of facing veteran Anibal Sanchez and an otherwise questionable cast of relievers, this time the mighty Los Angeles offense will need to conquer staff ace Max Scherzer.

Scherzer threw out of the bullpen in Washington’s victory at Los Angeles in Game 2 on Friday, but he should be fresh for his start.  In his one full inning of relief, he struck out the entire Dodgers side using just 14 pitches.

Much like his nemesis Clayton Kershaw, the 35-year-old Scherzer has a bit of a monkey on his back when it comes to postseason pitching. Over his playoff career, the 12-year big league vet has made 18 appearances—14 of which were starts—with a 4-5 record and a not-so-impressive 3.78 ERA.

Lifetime against the Dodgers, Scherzer is 5-4 with a 2.76 ERA and 92 punchouts over 81-2/3 innings pitched. In his most recent start against Los Angeles on May 11 of this year at Dodger Stadium, he threw seven full innings and collected the win, surrendering two earned runs on five hits and two walks.

Apparently, there are no limits on Scherzer’s pitch count.

“I don’t even know what the number is,” Scherzer said on Sunday. “That’s kind of out the door.”

The Dodgers counter with lefty Rich Hill, who has overcome a severe forearm strain and most recently an MCL sprain to make an improbable return to the bump. The veteran lefty has made just 14 starts on the season, but hasn’t lasted more than six innings since June 14 against the Cubs at home.

His last appearance came against the Giants on the road in the team’s regular-season finale when he threw three full innings, allowing no runs on one hit and two walks while striking out four.

Skipper Dave Roberts told reporters on Sunday that he expects Hill to throw somewhere around four innings and 60 pitches in Monday’s Game 4.

“We’re prepared; Rich is prepared,” Roberts told reporters.

Over his 15-year career, Hill has faced the Nationals seven times, five of which were starts. In those games, he has a 2-2 record with a 4.08 ERA alongside 29 strikeouts over 28-2/3 innings. During that time, he has surrendered five long balls and has allowed 10 walks.

Hill took the loss in his last start against the Nationals on May 9 of this year at Dodger Stadium when he threw five full innings. He gave up three earned runs on two walks and five hits—the most damaging being a three-run homer to Howie Kendrick.

One particular player to keep an eye on Monday is veteran infielder Ryan Zimmerman, who has gone 6-for-11 with two homers and a double lifetime against Hill.

Conversely, the Dodgers could consider starting rookie Matt Beaty in left field in place of the struggling A.J. Pollock. So far in the NLDS, Pollock has gone 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts. In his career against Scherzer, he is 2-for-12.

First pitch for Monday’s contest is 6:40 PM Eastern time.


33 thoughts on “Preview: Rich Hill, Max Scherzer Square Off in NLDS Game 4

  1. Glad to hear Pollock is sitting. We will probably see him vs Doolittle late. If Scherzer is getting people out he will be allowed to throw well over 100 pitches. How many innings that is may depend on Dodger hitters

      1. Line ups already posted Dennis. Taylor is hitting 6th and playing LF. Lux in the 7 hole followed by Smith and Hill. All the other places are the same as yesterday.

      2. Then they changed it, it was on with Taylor in the LF spot, but Beaty makes sense too. Taylor would probably be his defensive replacement if it is a close game.

  2. The time to be loyal and have a player work his way thru a bad stretch is in the regular season. As Magic so aptly put it its winnin time now and you have to put the best lineup you can for each game and right now that doesn’t include Pollock against Scherzer tonight. Doesn’t mean I’m not still a big fan of Pollock but right now he’s in a bad place

  3. Maddon to interview for Angels job. Ross high on Cubs list to be their new skipper and Farhan is searching for a new GM for the Gnats.

  4. I think Pollock’s lifetime 2-12 against Scherzer cinched the deal. If he had good lifetime numbers against him, Doc might have started him anyway. Interesting that he’s going with Taylor instead of Beaty but both Taylor and Kike have had their share of big hits in playoff games, so I guess that’s probably been factored in. We’re no doubt going to see a bunch of our bullpen guys today. Hopefully this will be one of their collective good days.

    1. Looks like my totally logical take on Taylor starting should be totally ignored since they have now changed the lineup from whatever Bear saw previously and Beaty is now starting. I’d love to see Beaty get the game winning hit today, but I’ll settle for Pollock doing it as a pinch hitter, or CT3 doing it after coming in as a defensive replacement, or Ryu hitting a game winning homer because he’s the only guy left on the bench.

      1. Or Doc stealing second base as a pinch runner and then scoring the winning run!

  5. You know what they call people who use the algorithm method?


    That lineup makes sense mathematically.

    In watching the 3 strikeouts Scherzer got the other night, EVERY strike 3 was out of the strike zone. Don’t swing at those pitches. I know, easier said than done, but if he knows he doesn’t have to throw strike 3 in the strike zone – why would he?

  6. I see Wednesday’s game as pretty much even.
    They have a very slight advantage with Strasburg over Buehler (consistency of recent starts)
    We have a very slight advantage with home field/last at bat.
    As I see it, it could go either way………………………and probably will.

    1. We’ll be favored Jefe, which doesn’t mean much I suppose.

      With all or nothing, sometimes you’re the bug. I believe we’ll come through. After all, we’re the better team, right?

      1. We’re the better team? Ask me after the game on Wednesday.
        All kidding aside, the Nats are a very good team. I could easily see them beating the winner of the Cards-Braves series if they wind up beating us.
        That said, it’s really strange to think our season might be over Wednesday night, but it won’t be, because we’re the better team, right?

      2. I would have to agree that the Nats are “good,” but not “very good.” Not with Sean Doolittle and Dan Hudson at the backend of an extremely questionable bullpen. Do-or-die on Wednesday, folks. Can you imagine the fallout from the “intellectually uninformed” fan base if the Dodgers are eliminated after the NLDS?

      3. Hey wait a minute Dennis. I know you’re a huge Daniel Hudson fan.
        And for Wednesday, the Nats bullpen will consist of Corbin, Scherzer and Sanchez before they even think of bringing in those other guys.

  7. So, do we want to guess what the lineup will look like on Wednesday, other than Pollock leading off and playing left field I mean? 🙂
    One of you “intellectually informed” folks can look up numbers against Strasburg which will probably give us a good hint. We know that JT, Muncy, Belli, Seager, Joc and probably Smith will start, but can we necessarily assume that Lux and Beaty will be in there? Or will Doc decide to go with CT3 and/or Kike just because of some of their past heroics in playoff situations?

    1. When I implied “intellectually uninformed” I was referring to the folks who still boo Petey Baez from his struggles three years ago and insist that Kenley should have been DFA’d months ago. They also say Doc should be fired. You know the crowd I mean, although Petey has given reason to support their argument lately. One thought I have is the struggles surrounding Lux. He looks simply out-classed. While he indeed had success against the third world teams down the stretch-run of the regular season, he doesn’t appear to have a clue at the plate in the playoffs. In the same breath, Taylor hasn’t looked much better. I think there’a chance we see Enrique start on Wednesday. Having Beaty, Lux, Will Smith and the pitcher hitting back-to-back-to-back-to-back just doesn’t feel right on the best offensive club in the NL.

      1. I understood what you were getting at. That’s why I said “intellectually informed”. The informed among us realize the Pedro is a “new man” and we should wait until after the playoffs to DFA Kenley. 🙂
        Agree that Gavin looks a bit out of his element against the really good starters. Maybe if Kike starts, he’ll give us one of those 3-homer games like he had against the Cubs. Dream on…………………………….

      2. The Nationals have two horses in their starting rotation. Scherzer got through 7 and pretty much throttled us. Strasburg out pitched Kershaw. I think Buehler will beat him on Wednesday but honestly I won’t be surprised if the offense doesn’t show up. You just never know with this group.

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