Rich Hill finds his (new) form and Chris Taylor hits another slam as Dodgers win, 8-0

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “With us, there are a lot of numbers thrown at us,” said Roberts before sitting out a one-game suspension Saturday. “When you get something about how you are out of the windup vs. out of the stretch, it made sense to him, to Honey (pitching coach Rick Honeycutt) so you kind of dig into that a little bit more. To kind of simulate that more, that’s what they did.”Hill said he wasn’t aware of the numbers until they were presented to him but “it makes sense, it makes total sense” when added to what he was feeling about his mechanics.“Last game (against the Angels), I was going to throw the entire game out of the stretch but it didn’t feel right not being able to pitch out of the windup, I guess. So I did some modifications out there during the game,” Hill said.“I feel I could go back to what I was doing before and slow it down.  But because I feel like I’m over the rubber, I can feel where my body is. I can feel when my hip, my shoulder and my head are over the rubber as opposed to kind of a two- or three-part delivery. Now it all feels as one.”Hill might want not want to tinker any more than he already has. Gone is the erratic command that led to 23 walks in his first 35 innings this season and the high pitch counts which prevented him from getting deep in games. Like the blister issues that plagued him again earlier this season, those problems seem to have cleared up with the proper treatment.“Building on his last outing, he was fantastic,” said acting manager Bob Geren. “He’s throwing the ball like Rich Hill throws it.”The turning of the calendar from June to July did not affect the power burst that has carried the Dodgers to the verge of the best record in baseball (they are a half-game behind the Houston Astros).After hitting a franchise-record (for any month) 53 home runs in June, the Dodgers started July with three in Saturday’s victory. Corey Seager and Turner hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning and Chris Taylor hit a grand slam in the seventh to break the game open.The slam was Taylor’s 11th home run in the major leagues (10 this season). Four of them have been grand slams (one last year, three this season).“Coincidence? I don’t know,” Taylor said when asked to explain his grand abilities. “I don’t think I do anything different with the bases loaded. I try not to do too much. I just try to put the ball in play and I guess I’ve run into a couple.”Forsythe didn’t hit a home run but he had his second consecutive four-hit game. He reached base in each of his first nine plate appearances in this series (a walk, two doubles and six singles) before striking out in the eighth inning Saturday. “Sheer entertainment,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said when asked to describe Hill’s enthusiastic but artless attempts at the plate.“I think the ball just found a couple holes today,” Hill said accurately. “I don’t think there was a whole lot of skill involved.”It wasn’t that long ago that Hill’s primary skill, as a pitcher, had left him dragging around a 5.14 ERA, a 1.57 WHIP – and a dissatisfying feeling based on it being “no fun to stink.”Then Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman suggested a way out. A statistical breakdown of Hill’s performance this season showed that he was still that elite-level pitcher the Dodgers (and Hill) think he can be – but mainly when he was pitching out of the stretch.The difference was “stark,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. center_img SAN DIEGO >> Rich Hill looks like a new man. Or the same old one.Sporting a simplified delivery and an expanded repertoire (he has added a cut fastball), the Dodgers left-hander held the San Diego Padres to four hits over seven scoreless innings Saturday night as the Dodgers opened July with an 8-0 victory.Hill’s most effective start of the season followed another season-long seven-inning start Monday against the Angels. This time out, he dominated the Padres, striking out a career-high-tying 11 and walking only one. The four hits he allowed included a swinging bunt single, a routine fly ball that fell for a double when Trayce Thompson lost it in the gloaming and a broken-bat flare that just cleared second baseman Logan Forsythe.Hill even had two hits of his own — his first hits since 2009 and the first multi-hit game of his 13-year big-league career – and drove in more runs (one) than the Padres managed to score.last_img

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