While the Los Angeles Dodgers were slow to publicly announce their entire starting rotation for the 2019 National League Division Series, manager Dave Roberts had no qualms with acknowledging Rich Hill would take the mound in a potential Game 4 against the Washington Nationals.
Before the Dodgers mounted a comeback that made franchise and MLB postseason history, Roberts reiterated Hill was due to start Monday, regardless of what transpired with Game 3. L.A. taking a 2-1 series lead means the veteran left-hander can help send them to the NL Championship Series.
It’s an opportunity Hill was in danger of missing out on after suffering a strained flexor tendon in his left forearm and experiencing knee trouble upon returning in September. He overcame the discomfort of scar tissue from a prior MCL strain breaking up to pitch well in limited innings.
Although Hill isn’t built up to provide any sort of length, his mentality and focus is on contributing for however long he’s able to pitch in Game 4.
The motivating factor to come back is I believe that have I something to give and I can help this team win,” Hill said. “I’m not really using anything, outside factors, other than the moment in what I really enjoy doing. I think that that’s the main factor. I love the competition part of this.
“And as you have seen all last three, four years, is going out there and bringing intensity and having a passion about playing this game. And that’s the part that for me, which makes it, I don’t want to say easy, but when you’re doing something that you love, it’s something that’s gratifying to go out there every day and enjoy it.
“Pitch count, whatever it is, I can’t control that. Whatever I can give the team, I’m going to give the team. And the decision that’s made is going to be made obviously beyond my control. 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.”
The 39-year-old allowed just one hit and collected 11 strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched over three starts after from the 60-day injured list. He additionally has a history of excelling with the Dodgers in the postseason, going 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 11 games (10 starts).