Lefty Rich Hill returns to the mound for the first time in nearly three months when he starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday in the finale of a three-game series with the host Baltimore Orioles. Hill went down with a forearm strain June 19 and is expected to make four starts down the stretch for the Dodgers as he aims to earn a spot in the postseason rotation.
The veteran has a 2.66 ERA in 11 playoff games (10 starts) for the Dodgers, who clinched their seventh straight National League West title with a win in the series opener Tuesday. With the division locked up and the stakes much lower, Los Angeles dropped Wednesday's matchup 7-3 as the Orioles ended their six-game losing streak. Jonathan Villar smacked a three-run homer in the seventh to snap a 2-2 tie for Baltimore, which gives the ball to Dylan Bundy in the finale Thursday. A.J. Pollock had two of the Dodgers' six hits Wednesday, including a two-run homer, after going 0-for-10 with five strikeouts over his previous three games.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Dodgers LH Rich Hill (4-1, 2.55 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Dylan Bundy (6-13, 5.06)
Hill recorded 61 strikeouts over 53 innings while holding opponents to a .237 average before going on the injured list. He threw a two-inning simulated game at Dodger Stadium last week. The 39-year-old, who appeared in 14 games for Baltimore in 2009, has given up 27 runs (24 earned) across 27 1/3 career innings at Camden Yards.
Bundy has finished at least six innings in three of his last four starts, during which he is 1-0 with a 4.12 ERA. The 26-year-old is 2-8 with a 5.24 ERA at home while giving up 92 hits (16 homers) in 79 innings. Bundy faced the Dodgers once in relief in 2016, spinning 2 1/3 scoreless innings while recording all seven outs via the strikeout.
1. Four of Pollock's last five hits have left the yard.
2. Villar has hit 14 of his 21 homers at home.
3. The Dodgers are 8-9 against AL teams and 86-44 against the NL.