The Dodgers Need Rich Hill

… which is precisely why they will keep rolling him out there.  His mechanics and release points are all all over place, but he has figured it out before and I believe he will do it again.  He has struggled mightily with his control as he was shut-down and then activated and shut-down again and re-activated due to blisters.  It appears that the blisters are gone, but if he is using a different grip, I don’t think it’s working.  He will get 2 or 3 more starts before it’s panic time.  He’s the #2 and needs to pitch like it.

Rich Hill is beloved by his teammates because he’s a hard worker and straight-up guy.  He makes no excuses and recently said that he “Sucks!”  He has also said he would go to the bullpen is asked.  He’s a team player and I believe he will work through this due to his character and work ethic.  It’s hard not to root for the guy!

He’s not the only #2 struggling.  The Cubs Jake Arrieta has a 4.09 ERA and Johnny Cueto’s ERA is 4.57.  Stuff like this happens and players get past it.  Remember when we were all calling for Chase Utley’s head?  The Dodgers pitching is still #1 in all of baseball, even after yesterday’s melt-down.  Ross Stripling has been sent down to work on his control.  Brandon Morrow would seem an obvious choice but what about Trevor Oaks.  I’d like to see him in that “swingman” role, but is he as good a pinch runner as Stripling?  That’s the thing…

Dodger Notes

  • Jair Jurrjens career as a Dodger is likely over after he was suspended for 80 games for taking something he shouldn’t have.
  • ThinkBlueLA weighed in on whether the Dodgers should trade Maeda and his value.  Like me, they think he would draw a lot of interest:

The option to trade Maeda in just his second season as a Dodger is definitely risky. Trade is very extreme and it must be a perfect fit for both sides for it to work. Although he has not pitched well as a starter, Maeda would be sure to draw huge interest from teams of all calibers. Teams like the Cubs would be a perfect fit for the struggling right hander because they to have had a hard time with their starting pitchers as a whole. Trading Maeda now may seem like an irrational decision and it may come off as too quick on the draw but the possible return for somebody with the same potential as Kenta is pretty big. Kenta could potentially bring in a big name and that could be the person to push the Dodgers over that final hill to a World Series.

  • Under Logan White the Dodgers frequently took high school players in the amateur draft, who take a long time to develop and are hard to project.  This year, of the 40 players drafted, 35 were college players and only 5 were high schoolers.  Billy Gasparino has a different plan…
  • If Cody Bellinger hits another HR soon, he will tie Gary Sanchez for fastest to 19 in 50 games.
  • It looks like A-Gon will be A-Gone for a while…
  • No word on Julio Urias MRI – that does not bode well… or maybe it does.  Indecision may or may not be part of my problem.
  • I’d like to see Wood go 6 or 7 tonight.
  • Alex Verdugo was 3-4 last night.  His OPS is climbing – it’s up to .842.
  • Trayce Thompson was 2-5 last night and is now at .209.  It was a long climb out of that deep hole.  Good for him!
  • Kyle Farmer continues to hit (.319/.938 OPS) at AAA.
  • Willie Calhoun (.300 /14 HR ) jacked another one out last night.  Could we see him soon?
  • Fernandez was 3-3 at Tulsa (.328 BA) – I don’t know what to think about him.
  • Walker Buehler went 5, allowed 5 hits and 2 ER while striking out 6 and walking 1.  He’s just building arm strength.
  • Shea Spitzbarth went 2 but got the loss.  His ERA is 2.25.  I could see him in the Dodger pen…
  • Istler got his 7th save for RC last night.
  • Cruz hit his 5th HR for GL last night.  He’s the 8 foot tall SS.
  • May went 6.2 innings to get the win.

Cover image:  Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 44 Comments

  1. Dodgers got good news on young southpaw Julio Urias, as Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports (Twitter links). While he’ll still be shut down until the soreness in his shoulder subsides, Urias did not exhibit any structural issues in an MRI.

    1. Excellent news. That will certainly limit his innings this year. Hopefully he can join the rotation in Mid-August!

  2. Teams typically don’t want to trade with teams wither in their own division or who they expect to go against in the playoffs but looking at the Cubs roster maybe a starter could be traded for a reliever as in Maeda for Carl Edwards.
    Other players would have to be involved to balance the trade. The Dodgers could add Hatcher while the Cubs could add prospects.

  3. Stripling being optioned to AAA, per TrueBlueLA. Has given jp 7 runs and 2 HR in last 2 appearances. Dodger pen to be short-handed with Maeda getting spot start and a fresh arm is needed.

    1. The last I read about Harvey is that he needs his 96 mph fastball to make his other pitches effective and he is sgtruggling to hit 92. A change of scenery would help him but until he gets velocity back that change doesn’t seem like it would do enough.

  4. Just thinking out loud about the rotation.
    Kershaw = Solid and should be available throughout the playoffs and WS.
    Wood = Solid but has a history of DL stints and could run out of innings before the playoffs are completed/
    Hill = Has had stretches where he has pitched like an ace and like a #5 and is 1 blister from the DL.
    McCarthy = Solid but probably should not be expected to last through 162 games; questionable for the playoffs.
    Maeda = Looking like a #5 now but has shown #2 or 3 skills last year and should be available for the playoffs.
    Urias = This is a tuneup year for next year and hopefully will get 10 good starts from him. Playoff doubtful.
    Ryu = Promising and could pitch anywhere between a #2.5 to 4 but innings limits will keep him out of playoffs.
    Stewart = Could pitch as a #3 and should be available for playoffs. A #5 innings eater would help Dodgers.
    Oaks = Is pushing for an opportunity to be a #5 innings eater this year and should be available for playoffs.
    Masterson = Could make a good contribution and provides rotation depth.
    Buehler = Best if he waits for next year to protect his arm.
    The Dodgers could use Archer to strengthen reliability of the rotation.

    1. Chris Archer would be a good #2 for LAD. But, Tampa is in the Wild Card race (currently tied with Cleveland for the 2nd spot), and is not about to trade their Ace when they have a shot at the playoffs. But let’s assume that they will trade Archer. Are you willing to trade Walker Buehler as part of a package to acquire Archer? The Tigers were not going to trade Kinsler without Bellinger. I think that non-trade worked out for the Dodgers. I am convinced that it would have cost the Dodgers Seager and maybe Urias for Hamels. Others can convince themselves that all it would have taken was JDL and a couple of other lesser prospects, but that is absurd. Since Kiermaier is out for at least 2 months, are you willing to include Joc?
      Right now, every AL team has to think they still have a shot at a Wild Card. Oakland is the last team in the AL and they are only out of the Wild Card by 5.5 games. The Cubs are the closest to Wild Card in the NL and they are out 8 games. We have no idea who might be willing to trade one of their top 2 SP to the Dodgers. Realistically the pitchers who might be available would be Jason Vargas (KC), Ivan Nova (Pitt), Yu Darvish (Tex), Cole Hamels ???? (Tex), Dan Straily and Edison Volquez (Miami), Jaime Garcia (Braves), Trevor Cahill (Padres), Marcus Stroman (Toronto), Sonny Gray and Jesse Hahn (Oak), Derek Holland (ChiSox), Justin Verlander (Det), plus whatever SF may want to unload. Vargas is a rental and is this year’s Rich Hill, and Darvish is a rental. Nova has two reasonable ($8.5M) years remaining on his three year contract. I would guess that the the Dodgers will look at Vargas, Darvish, Nova, and Gray. The Rays Archer and Odorizzi will also get looks. Trevor Cahill might also be a potential because of his ability to relieve and be a spot starter, but certainly nowhere near a #2.

      1. I agree with you. Any pitcher who is a #2 or 3 starter is going to cost a fortune in prospects and I’m not that impressed with what’s out there. It’s going to be really tough to find the right pitcher at the right cost. The Dodgers will probably have to go with the starters that get them to the post-season. They can add a reliever or 2. I am really hoping for a right-handed OF bat though.

      2. When you look at this group, other than perhaps Darvish, there’s nothing I would want to cash out my IRA for. That’s why it is so good to have depth, upon depth in your system.

  5. I think Hill should go down to AAA and pitch three or four games in a row, to prove he has command of his pitches, just like Urias was sent down for..

    He is not helping the team right now, so the team isn’t going to miss him.

    Hill hasn’t pitched well all year!

    And if he is changing his grip like Hawkeye said, it isn’t helping.

    It is better to have him pitch Iike a number two with his old grips, and miss some starts, because of blisters.

    And I expected Hill to miss some starts because of blisters, anyways.

    But I knew we had enough depth to fill in for Hill, when he had a blister problem.

    Hill is not only costing us games, he is making the bullpen have to pitch to much, almost every time he starts.

      1. Bum

        You are right about that, but they are very good with manipulating the roster, so they should be able to figure this one out, too.

        I just think Hill shouldn’t be allowed to continue to try to figure this out, in the major league, rotation.

        It is surprising that he hasn’t caused the team, to lose that many games, with the way he has pitched.

        Anyone can see, that he just doesn’t have it!

        Even Hill knows he doesn’t have it, because it is written all over his face, with every start he makes.

    1. Hill can’t go to the minors, he’ll never clear waivers and the Dodgers won’t waive him.
      He’s amendable to the bullpen.

      1. Bluto

        I already know that, but like I told Bum, they manipulate the roster very well.

        And when any of the relievers are pitching bad, that don’t have options, like Hatcher for example, they don’t continue to let them straighten themselves out, on the major league team.

        They go on the DL to try to fix their problem.

        And Hill pitched in a couple games in AAA, probably for this same problem, earlier in this season.

        And how can Hill pitch in the bullpen, when he can’t throw strikes?

        Relievers even more then starters, have to come into a games, being able to throw strikes.,

  6. Right now, I have confidence when Kershaw, McCarthy or Wood take the ball. As Bum has noted, the problem here is we don’t know whether Wood or McCarthy will last the season.

    Yesterday, Mark suggested that having a pitching staff constructed of the old and infirm is a good idea. So – Riddle me this, Batman; if Hill, Maeda and Ryu don’t pitch well enough often enough to be trusted in the regular season, let alone the post-season, and McCarthy and Wood have health that is hanging by a thread, who exactly do you trust to be there to pitch and pitch well in the post-season? Kazmir? Masterson? Urias?

    As I have posited before, the 15 man rotation employed by the Dodgers may help to get you through the regular season but isn’t designed to win in the post-season.

        1. At a core, what’s the difference between a regular season game and a playoff game. From what I’ve observed playoff games are even LESS demanding on starting pitching, with most starters going 5 or 6 at a max.
          If it works in the regular season, then what’s to stop it from working in the post-season.
          You can say the risk of injury is greater, but just as likely is a poor start by a starter.
          You can’t plan against unfortunate turns of events. This applies to starters like McCarthy as much as it does starters like David Price.

  7. I can see a couple of relievers being added but I think the starters are just fine.

    If they don’t pitch deep into games, they will be fresher in the playoffs. The relievers may already be in the system.

    I think at some point, they try Calhoun or Verdugo in LF.

    What about this:
    1. Verdugo LF
    2. Seager SS
    3. Turner 3B
    4. Bellinger 1B
    5. Grandal C
    6. Taylor CF
    7. Forsythe/Utley 2B
    8. Puig RF

      1. I am afraid of Gray.

        I would trade Pederson, Calhoun, Ryu and Oaks for Darvish. But, I don’t think Texas would.

        1. I really like Verdugo at leadoff that way his power numbers are not that important. Swap out Maeda for Ryu and Texas might do it.


    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today recalled right-handed pitcher Josh Ravin from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned right-handed pitcher Ross Stripling to Triple-A OKC.

    Ravin, 29, who will make his second stint with the big league club this season, last pitched on Sunday for the OKC Dodgers allowing four runs on two hits with two strikeouts in an inning of relief against Triple-A Round Rock (Rangers). In 11 games with Oklahoma City this year, Ravin has gone 3-0 with one save while posting a 7.94 ERA (10 ER/11.1 IP). He has struck out 17 against just five walks. The West Hills native is in his third season with Los Angeles, going 2-1 with a 3.79 ERA (8 ER/19.0 IP) in 19 career big league games, while punching out 25 batters in 19.0 innings.

    Stripling, 27, last pitched for the Dodgers in yesterday’s contest against the Indians, allowing a season-high four runs on five hits in 1.2 innings of relief. Stripling has gone 0-3 with one save and has posted a 4.00 ERA (16 ER/36.0 IP) in 21 relief appearances, while striking out 39 batters against only eight walks. He currently is tied for third among National League relievers in innings pitched with 36.0 innings.

  9. Great look at Hill’s struggle here:
    Summarized below:
    Batters are hitting the curve in the air. They’re not destroying it, but they’re making better decisions and applying better swings. That pitch has been less useful for Hill, which is a problem, given how often he prefers to throw it. …Velocity down. Location off, mostly up and arm-side. It could be something subtle and mechanical, with Hill flying open, or alternatively throwing a little too much across his body…

  10. Not sure Mark is someone “in the know” when it comes to Gonzalez:
    Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told MLBNetworkRadio that he expects Adrian Gonzalez (@Adrian_ElTitan) to return from DL in the “near future.”

  11. From DodgerBlue:

    With a farm system that’s rated among the best in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had several prospects named to Minor League All-Star teams. Their strongest showing will come in the Texas League All-Star Game, which will feature nine players from the Double-A Tulsa Drillers.

    That includes starters Michael Ahmed and Edwin Rios. Also selected for the North Division team were position players Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick, Paul Hoenecke and Tim Locastro; and pitchers Scott Barlow, Walker Buehler and Corey Copping.

    1. AA Tulsa, A+ Rancho, and A Great Lakes have all had their All Star teams named. PCL has not yet names their All Stars, but Dodgers are well represented in the other three leagues. As Mark posted above, 9 Tulsa Drillers made the roster with 2 starters. The Texas League AA game will be played at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas on June 27, 2017.
      The California League ASG will be played at Rawhide Ballpark in Visalia, CA on June 20. Luke Raley (OF) and Will Smith (C) have been named starters with DJ Peters (OF) and Ibandel Isabel (1B) as reserves, with Dennis Santana and Caleb Ferguson named as pitchers.
      The Midwest League ASG will be played Dow Diamond in Midland, Michigan on June 20. Keibert Ruiz (C) and Dustin May (P) were named to the roster.
      The AAA ASG will be played at Cheney Stadium, Tacoma, Washington on July 12. This will be a game between the Pacific Coast League All Stars and the International League All Stars. The players have not yet been announced.
      If you are anywhere near Tacoma Washington around July 12, you should try to make the game. I went to the 2004 AAA All Star Game in Pawtucket, and it was absolutely a great time.

  12. Hill can’t pitch in the bullpen. He can’t get the ball over the plate. Stripling’s biggest problem is the called for location. He can’t pitch high in the zone. His natural plane is high to low. Not high to higher. I don’t know why the brains can’t see that. Let him pitch the way he is best. A stupid demotion.

  13. Anybody out there got a bad feeling Cody B. takes a shot at the ASG Home Run Derby and it affects him negatively as with some players in the past???

  14. From fanragsports–
    New York Yankees certainly have to be a buyer with their monster start, and they’re likely to look at rotation arms. Masahiro Tanaka hasn’t been himself, and CC Sabathia, who’s been better than anyone could have expected, has a hamstring issue now. Quintana, a former Yankees farmhand, was a target of theirs, even before it was obvious they would contend. They certainly have a major stash of prospects they could trade, though Gleyber Torres is surely off limits. Third base could be a question for them, too, though it’s not an area of desperation, and Torres could wind up being the answer there if Chase Headley doesn’t pick it up a bit.
    With Taylor, Hernandez, and Urias able to play second the Dodgers could help the Yankees fill their need at third by trading Forsythe and a pitcher to them. The Yankees have good prospects and depending on who the pitcher was from the Dodgers, the better the chance of getting a top prospect. The Yankees might even be interested in Kazmir and Masterson.
    Or, instead of prospects maybe the Dodgers could get Betances. He would be an outstanding setup up guy for the pen.

    1. Bum

      For some reason I was thinking about the Yankees young line up, and it must be because the Yankees are on TV on the MLB Network, all the time.

      But they have four young players not only hitting with power, three of the four players, are hitting three hundred plus, and the fourth player, is hitting 297.

      Doesn’t seem like the Yankees have made that transition to youth, pretty quickly?

      I know they didn’t go to the post season last year, but they are a very different team this year.

      They really made out trading both Miller and Chapman, last year.

  15. Thursday night marked Rich Hill’s 10th consecutive start, dating back to last September, in which he recorded 15 or fewer outs. That’s the longest such streak by a Dodgers pitcher since the mound was set at its current distance in 1893. (Elias Sports Bureau)

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