LOS ANGELES -- A modified delivery and renewed confidence helped Rich Hill complete his longest outing of the season in the Dodgers' 4-0 loss to the Angels on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt worked with Hill to simplify his delivery, which led to better direction and
LOS ANGELES -- A modified delivery and renewed confidence helped Rich Hill complete his longest outing of the season in the Dodgers' 4-0 loss to the Angels on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt worked with Hill to simplify his delivery, which led to better direction and location with his fastball.
Different problems have prevented the 37-year-old lefty from pitching longer than five innings this year, -- a chronic blister and issues with his command are among them -- but none of those seemed to bother Hill in his seven-inning, four-hit performance.
"Today definitely felt way more like myself than any game that I've pitched the entire year so far," Hill said. "The velocity was maintained throughout the entire game. The breaking ball was much more sharper. The cutter was very good today. As far as the pitching goes, the ball came out how I wanted it to."
Hill seemed to regain his 2016 form, when he went 12-5 with a 2.12 ERA in 20 starts, earning him a three-year $48 million contract with the Dodgers in the winter.
"When you sign a guy like Rich and on his track record you have certain expectations," manager Dave Roberts said. "This is what we expected from him. Win or lose. The way he competed, the way he attacked the strike zone, just in control."
With the loss of starter Brandon McCarthy, who landed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee tendinitis, Hill pitching deeper into games is a positive sign going forward for the Dodgers' pitching staff. Before Monday, Hill hadn't pitched past the fifth inning and struggled with walks and high pitch counts.
A few mistakes did bother Hill, especially walking Angels starter Ricky Nolasco on five pitches in the third inning before Yunel Escobar's two-run single. But after Andrelton Simmons' leadoff triple in the fourth, Hill retired 12 of the last 13 batters to close out his night.
"I think the biggest thing, yeah, we lost a baseball game tonight," Roberts said. "The biggest win is for Rich to give us seven innings and pitch the way that 2016 Rich threw the baseball."
Joshua Thornton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.