2019 NLDS: Dodgers Keeping With Plan To Start Rich Hill Against Nationals In Game 4

Heading into the 2019 National League Division Series, all the Los Angeles Dodgers were initially willing to divulge with their rotation was Rich Hill cementing his status as the team’s Game 4 starter.

It was a role Hill figured to fill at the outset of the season anyhow, but he faced uncertainty after suffering a strained flexor tendon in his left forearm and more trouble with a previous knee injury upon returning in September.

Hill pushed through the discomfort of scar tissue breaking up and closed out the regular season with a pair of encouraging outings. With the Dodgers and Washington Nationals having split the first two games of the NLDS, the veteran left-hander could face a scenario where the season is on the line.

Conversely, Hill may also be in position to help send the Dodgers to a fourth consecutive appearance in NL Championship Series. However the situation unfolds, manager Dave Roberts remained committed to Hill.

“Rich is going to start tomorrow. We’re prepared, Rich is prepared,” Roberts said before Game 3. “Obviously how we kind of manage tomorrow obviously is kind of dictated on today but the plan is to have Rich start tomorrow.”

Because of the flexor strain injury, Hill was only able to build back up to around four innings. Nevertheless, he’s confident in being able to contribute. “Pitch count, whatever it is, I can’t control that. Whatever I can give the team, I’m going to give the team,” Hill said.

“And the decision that’s made is going to be made obviously beyond my control. So that’s first and foremost. And my expectations are to go out there and have the ball come out of my hand the way I want it to every time. So that’s something that hasn’t changed in a long time for me and that’s been pretty consistent and it will be tomorrow.”

Hill went 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA, 4.10 FIP and 1.13 WHIP in 13 starts this season. One of those — Hill’s third outing of the year — was against the Nationals. He allowed three runs on five hits, including one home run, and had five strikeouts over five innings of work.

If not the veteran left-hander, the Dodgers have the option of bringing Walker Buehler back on three days’ rest and a safety net of having Clayton Kershaw start a potential winner-take-all Game 5 at Dodger Stadium on regular rest Wednesday.

Whether Hill or Buehler, the Dodgers are due to face Max Scherzer in Game 4. The Nationals initially had their ace slated to start Sunday but switched the order with Anibal Sanchez after Scherzer pitched one inning out of the bullpen in Game 2.