Rich Hill was clearly in pain as he pitched on Tuesday night, but he didn’t let it stop him from trying to earn a spot on the playoff roster. With a brace on his left knee, the one he needs to push off the rubber, Hill fought his way through two innings.
His knee has been a problem since he tweaked it in his return to the mound in Baltimore. But at 39 years old, he’s determined to play in October at least one more time.
Throughout his start against the Padres, Hill limped and grimaced from the pain his knee caused him. But he was still able to throw 2 shutout innings and strikeout 5 batters. The last strikeout was his 1,000th career K.
Hill, however, wasn’t the only Dodger to return from injury on Tuesday night. Max Muncy returned to the lineup after missing a couple of games with a thigh injury.
In the top of the 4th inning, he came to the plate with a chance to blow the game open. The bases were loaded with 2 outs in the ballpark where his Dodgers career all began. All of a sudden, before the Padres knew what had happened, Muncy hit a Grand Slam and gave the Dodgers a 5-0 lead.
In addition to the Dodgers’ win on Tuesday, the Braves lost to the Royals, the Yankees lost to the Rays, and the Astros beat the Mariners. With Atlanta’s loss, the Dodgers clinched the best record in the National League. With New York’s loss, the Dodgers pulled to just one game behind them in the race for the best record in baseball. But the Astros won and 2 games ahead of the Dodgers.
In order for the Dodgers to pass the Astros, the combination of Astros wins and Dodgers loss cannot be greater than 3. The Dodgers and Astros each have 5 games remaining.
Ross Stripling and Dinelson Lamet will face off in game 2 of the series. Stripling is 4-4 on the year with a 3.32 ERA and will likely only go 2-3 innings before handing the ball to the bullpen. Lamet is 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA this year. The game will begin at 7:10 pm.