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Dodgers Dugout: Rich Hill and the myth of 'third time through the lineup'

Dodgers Dugout: Rich Hill and the myth of 'third time through the lineup'
Rich Hill (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Los Angeles Mitchell. I sold my house and car, turned in all the recycling material and mowed every lawn in the neighborhood and still can’t afford World Series tickets.

Game 2

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--That Vin Scully, Steve Yeager, Fernando Valenzuela first pitch was the greatest opening in the history of sports. I was expecting Sandy Koufax when Scully asked for a left-hander, but Fernando was great too.

--Let’s talk about Rich Hill for a moment. The Dodgers gave him a three-year, $48-million contract in the off-season. I thought it was a good deal at the time, but here’s what I don’t understand: If you don’t think a pitcher can successfully pitch through a lineup for a third time, why are you giving him $16 million?

The thought process this season is that a starting pitcher, particularly Hill, turns into a pumpkin when he faces a lineup for the third time. Is that correct in Hill’s case? Let’s look like at the numbers this season.

First time through a lineup the opponent hits: .192/.286/.318. That’s really good.

Second time through a lineup: .236/.324/.450. Uh oh, numbers are going up.

Third time through the lineup: .158/.208/.200. Wait, what? His numbers are actually better the third time through the lineup than any other time?

Well, perhaps this season is a fluke and over his career he has been hammered during his third time through a lineup. Let’s look:

First time through: .221/.311/.339

Second time through: .222/.306/.386

Third time through: .227/.294/.384

Gee, I’m not seeing a big difference. Which makes the decision to remove Hill after four innings a bad decision. He went four innings, giving up one run on three hits while striking out seven and walking three.

He had only thrown 60 pitches. So, try to squeeze a couple of more innings out of him. Then you can use Kenta Maeda/Tony Watson in the sixth/seventh, Brandon Morrow in the eighth and Kenley Jansen in the ninth.

Because again, why are you paying a guy $16 million if you don’t trust him to go six innings?

I don’t blame Hill for being irate. He had every right to be.

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--Even though the Dodgers lost, that was a really great game.

--Nice of Josh Fields to fill the Pedro Baez role in Game 2. He retired no one, giving up two homers and a double. I could have done that.

--If you blinked, you may have missed Ross Stripling. Four pitches, one walk and he’s out of the game.

--We can moan and groan about things the Dodgers did wrong, but sometimes you have to tip your cap to the opponent. The Astros are a great team. They didn’t win 101 games by accident.

--It’s hard to win a game when you only get five hits and the other team gets 14.

--That being said, when you are up 3-1 on Justin Verlander, you need to win.

--I had one person email me a few seconds after Jansen gave up the tying homer. He was irate and said the Dodgers would lose the series, 4-1. If that’s how you feel, just stop watching and give any Dodgers gear you own to a real fan.

--Even Mariano Rivera lost a game in the World Series.

--Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger combined to go one for 17. Hard to win when that happens.

--How nice was it to see Joc Pederson hit a home run? And how sad was it to see him strike out with a runner on third and one out? That’s Pederson’s career in a nut shell.

--Hill had seven strikeouts in four innings. Over the next seven innings, the bullpen struck out only one.

--The Astros can’t feel too comfortable, because the Dodgers were hitting rockets off of their bullpen. They just kept hitting them right at people.

--The Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish for situations like Game 3. Let’s see what happens.

--Now the Dodgers need to shake it off and come back strong in Game 3. That’s what championship teams do.

Game 3 preview

Dodgers vs. Lance McCullers Jr.

Andre Ethier: 1.000 (3 for 3)

Yasiel Puig: .667 (2 for 3)

Enrique Hernandez: .500 (1 for 2)

Chase Utley: .333 (1 for 3), 1 double

Logan Forsythe: .286 (2 for 7), 1 double

Justin Turner: .000 (0 for 2)

Team: .450 (9 for 20), 2 doubles, 3 strikeouts

Astros vs. Yu Darvish

George Springer: .333 (6 for 18), 2 homers

Alex Bregman: .222 (2 for 9)

Jose Altuve: .219 (7 for 32), 2 doubles, 6 walks

Carlos Correa: .200 (3 for 15), 1 double, 1 homer

Carlos Beltran: .200 (2 for 10)

Brian McCann: .182 (2 for 11), 1 double

Josh Reddick: .160 (4 for 25), 1 triple

Marwin Gonzalez: .143 (2 for 14)

Evan Gattis: .143 (1 for 7)

Yuli Gurriel: .143 (1 for 7)

Cameron Maybin: .111 (1 for 9), 1 double

Team: .197 (31 for 157), 5 doubles, 3 homers, 50 strikeouts

The World Series

All games start at 5 p.m. PT and are televised on Fox.

Game 3: Friday, Dodgers (Yu Darvish) at Astros (Lance McCullers Jr.)

Game 4: Saturday, Dodgers (Alex Wood) at Astros (Charlie Morton)

Game 5: Sunday, Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw) at Astros (Dallas Keuchel)

Game 6*: Tuesday, Astros (Justin Verlander) at Dodgers (Rich Hill)

Game 7*: Wednesday, Astros (TBA) at Dodgers (Yu Darvish)

* if necessary

And finally

This needs no explanation. Just watch.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter:@latimeslosangeles.

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