Less than 24 hours after the start of their National League Divisional Series matchup with the Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks will take the field Saturday night to avoid heading back home on the brink of elimination.
Such is life in Major League Baseball's best-of-five divisional series format.
Game 2 may not be an elimination game, but it may well be a must-win for the Diamondbacks. If they don't steal the second game at Dodger Stadium, they'll have to win three straight, facing Los Angeles aces Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw in two of those matchups.
On the bump Saturday night will be Robbie Ray, last seen throwing what he said was basically a bullpen session in the middle of the D-backs' wild card win Wednesday night over Colorado. He pitched 2-1/3 critical innings to get Arizona into the seventh with a lead.
And the last time Ray was at Chavez Ravine, the result was one of the best performances of his career: 14 strikeouts against just three hits allowed over 7-2/3 innings.
October 7, 2017
.@RobbieRay’s last outing at Dodger Stadium was an electric 14-K performance.
In five starts against Los Angeles this season, Ray is 3-0. He's given up eight runs over 31-2/3 innings in those starts, five of which came in an April 22 outing for which he recorded the win anyway.
On the other side, the former journeyman Hill has been a solid if unspectacular middle-of-the-rotation guy for the Dodgers in his first full season for the club. He's stayed largely healthy, delivering the second-most innings of his 13-year career and posting a 3.32 earned-run average, giving the Dodgers offense a chance in most games.
Hill's been effective against the D-backs, holding current Arizona players to a slash line of just .207/.270/.413.
The D-backs usually keep third baseman Jake Lamb away from lefties, but in eight plate appearances against Hill, Lamb has four walks, two hits and a homer. Chris Iannetta is the only D-back with with multiple homers off Hill, but he's also struck out seven times in 12 at-bats against the Dodgers starter.
First pitch is set for 6:08 p.m. at Dodger Stadium.