Dodgers vs. Astros
World Series, Game 2
At Dodger Stadium, Wednesday, 5 p.m.
TV: Fox. Radio: 570, 980, 1020, ESPN Radio.
Dodgers: Rich Hill
Astros: Justin Verlander
Hill, regular season: 12-8, 3.32 ERA
Hill, playoffs: 0-0, 3.00 ERA
A left-hander, Hill gets by on guile more than stuff, which includes a low-90s fastball, a tremendous curve and not much else. He is known for being animated on the mound, often talking to himself. He made 25 starts this season, his most since 2007, and held opponents to a .203 batting average. Two years ago, he was pitching for the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League and last winter he spurned the Astros, among others, to re-sign with the Dodgers.
Hill on playoff pitching: “It’s about attacking and staying convicted in your approach. You get to this point and it’s not about changing your game plan or doing something different. You’ve done your homework, you’ve prepared throughout the entire season to get to this point.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Hill: “Two pitches, but he does different things in regards to changing speeds.”
Verlander, regular season: 15-8, 3.36 ERA*
Verlander, playoffs: 4-0, 1.46 ERA
A Cy Young Award winner and MVP with the Detroit Tigers, Verlander reinvigorated his career after a late-season trade to the Astros. Including the postseason, he’s gone 9-0 with a 1.23 ERA. He gave one run in 16 innings in two American League Championship Series starts against the New York Yankees. This season, he’s relied primarily on a four-seam fastball that sits in the mid-90s, a hard slider and a low-80s curve.
Verlander on the playoffs: “The mental focus is just another level. It’s unsustainable throughout the course of the regular season. If you were that mentally focused, you’d just burn out.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi on Verlander: “In the two starts we faced him, he hasn’t been behind in counts and he’s thrown a ton of strikes. I looked up at one point on the board and he had faced like 13 or 14 hitters, and there was like 10 balls and 40-something strikes.”
*Combined record with Detroit and Houston.
Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11