Trust Rich to Get Rich: Hill to Lead Dodgers Past Brewers in NLCS Game 4

Monday, October 15, 2018 3:07 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 3:07 PM UTC

The L.A. Dodgers host Milwaukee for Game 4 of the NLCS on Tuesday at 9:09 ET on FS1. With an experienced veteran on the mound, the Dodgers will get the job done.

NLCS Game 4: Milwaukee at Los Angeles DodgersTuesday, 9:09 ET (Fox Sports 1)Free MLB Pick: Dodgers MLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Tuesday’s match-up against Milwaukee is in several respects a matter of "been there, done that“ for L.A.’s Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA). Hill has 38 career postseason innings under his belt and boasts a 3.55 career postseason ERA. Hill’s postseason ERA is consistent with his regular season ERA, indicating that, unlike many pitchers, the pressure of postseason play doesn’t exercise negative influence on him.

Hill is primed to replicate his regular season success against Milwaukee, against which he conceded two earned runs in 12 innings in two starts. His FIP (like ERA, but factors out luck) was under 2.50 in both starts against Milwaukee, indicating that luck wasn’t a factor in his strong performance.

Hill relies primarily on a fastball-curveball combo. Both pitches compose 97 percent of his arsenal. His fastball is his favorite pitch in all scenarios, except he tends to utilize his curveball with two strikes. He’s able to be unpredictable and work backward, starting with his breaking stuff and attempting to finish batters off with his curveball. Hill uses his fastball primarily to induce fly outs. He elevates it. Also, he puts a high amount of spin on it, so that the batter struggles to track its movement and perceives it to rise so that he swings underneath it.

Hill induces twice as high of a fly ball frequency with his fastball than any of his other pitches. Hill also gives his fastball strong glove-side movement to make it more elusive. One might think it really easy to launch an 89 mph fastball up in the zone for a home run, but not with the spin and movement that Hill puts on it.

The elevated tendency of Hill's fastball helps his curveball. His 30 percent first-pitch curveball frequency is unique and it’s telling of his comfort with and command of this pitch. He throws the batter of-balance firstly by taking 15 mph off his fastball and secondly by changing the batter’s eye level by concentrating his curveball low in the zone. He hits the lowest-left corner of the zone with 12 percent frequency with his curveball. However, he’s able to stay unpredictable by occasionally elevating his curveball. His curveball has intense and funky movement that makes it indescribable. It has strong arm-side tail and negative vertical movement, making it both very elusive and very confusing. Its movement and the way it plays off his fastball in terms of velo and eye level make it one of his favorite whiff- and ground ball-inducing pitches.

Opponents hit only .219 against his fastball and his curve. Milwaukee saw him twice in a short amount of time and only produced a .250 BA against his fastball in one game, .333 in the next and .231 against his curve in one game and .200 in the next. In his last outing against the Brewers, their top hitter Christian Yelich went 0-for-5. Yelich is anyhow batting .188 in 16 October at-bats.

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Since Sept. 1 and into the postseason, the #Dodgers have used a special formula to become a team you can never count out.

— Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) 14. Oktober 2018

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell has yet to announce who will start Game 4. Freddy Peralta could see his first ever postseason action and Junior Guerra could also make his first ever postseason start. Likewise, Brandon Woodruff or Gio Gonzalez could get another start because neither threw too many pitches in Game 1. The Brewers are flexible and, whatever they do, they will surely rely on their bullpen. Milwaukee’s bullpen is trying to spearhead the pitching staff through the playoffs. But the Dodgers won their last game by knocking in four runs after the sixth inning — all against the bullpen. Particularly worrisome for Milwaukee is how bad Jeremy Jeffress had been. He’s been a huge part of Milwaukee’s bullpen and he was almost untouchable during the regular season. But his postseason ERA is currently 7.71.

Four different Dodgers are batting .300 or better in the postseason. Leading the way is, surprisingly, Chris Taylor, who is 6-for-12 (.500) with a triple and a homer. But don’t forget the old reliables. Manny Machado has belted three postseason homers. Justin Turner is hitting .304 and slugging .478. Joc Pederson is hitting .353.

For these reasons, the Dodgers look appealing on the MLB odds board and you should take them for your MLB Pick.

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