Dodgers: The stars are aligned for Rich Hill to lead LA to a 2-0 lead

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 11: Pitcher Rich Hill (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 11: Pitcher Rich Hill (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ bats jumped out to an early lead to secure a 9-5 victory in game one of the NLDS. In game two, Rich Hill should have no problem getting the same result.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have the ability to sway the NLDS heavily in their favor on Saturday night. Following a 9-5 win in the first game of the series, Los Angeles gives the ball to Rich Hill to push the lead to two. Were this to happen, the ball would be in the Dodgers’ court.

In the short five year history of the MLB Wild Card game, there have been two Wild Card-winning teams to go down 2-0 in the NLDS; the 2013 Rays and 2016 Giants. Both teams lost the series in four games.

Instead of going with deadline acquisition Yu Darvish or year-long second arm Alex Wood, the Dodgers opted to go with Hill. Hill was the Dodgers’ game two starter in last year’s NLDS. Hill threw just 4.1 innings, allowing four runs in route to a 5-2 loss.

However, this game will be different. Hil is taking the mound in his home park, Dodger Stadium, the same park where Hill threw six scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in last year’s NLCS. In game two of the NLDS, Dodger fans may see a very familiar Rich Hill.

First and foremost, the thing that nobody wants to admit exists, momentum. Los Angeles is riding the momentum of a game one victory, something that is very pivotal in a five-game series. When you have an offense that just scored nine runs against a solid Diamondbacks team, the confidence is going to be there.

However, more importantly, Hill just watched the blueprint for success in Clayton Kershaw. Yes, Kershaw did let up four home runs and four runs, and could not get by the dreaded seventh inning. However, the ace was never in any serious trouble, the team never got any runners in any dangerous positions and for the most part, it was a relatively good night for Kershaw.

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If those two home runs in the seventh inning were 10 feet shorter, we would be talking about how playoff Kershaw has arrived.

Kershaw thrived in attacking the Diamondbacks early in the account. Hill will likely take a different approach. His sly mixture of fastballs, curveballs and arm angles will give the Diamondbacks something completely different than they got with the routined Kershaw.

Not to mention Hill is on fire. In five starts in September Hill has not allowed more than two runs once.

Since July 1, Hill has only allowed three or more runs in a game one time. Last time Hill faced the Diamondbacks in Dodger Stadium he threw six innings, only allowing two runs on a J.D. Martinez blast.

Hill has a challenge on the mound as well with Robby Ray. However, for the first time in forever, the Dodgers are not the one pitching players on short rest, their opponents are. Ray just threw 2.1 innings for the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. While that is not a big workload and is similar to a midweek bullpen session, it will have an impact late.

Next: Best moments in Dodgers NLDS history

If Hill can hang on and give the Dodgers his consistent six or seven innings with two runs, the team should have no problem taking a 2-0 lead into Arizona.