By Jon Weisman
“Go as hard as you can for as long as you can, and we’ll figure out the rest.”
That’s the mantra Dave Roberts has sent to his starting pitchers. Sure, seven, eight innings would be nice, but that’s no longer the barometer. For that matter, the homespun charm of a quality start started sounding all too quaint around the fourth of July.
“There’s not been really one formula for us to win the baseball games that we’ve won,” Roberts said today, before Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. “So this postseason, it’s more for me just kind of sending the message to the starters to go out there and leave it all out there.”
Rich Hill, who in the regular season with the Dodgers never went fewer than five innings and had seven perfect frames September 10 at Miami, epitomizes this approach. In this postseason, he has struck out 13 batters in seven innings over two starts, including six in 2 2/3 innings on three day’s rest in the final game of the National League Division Series against Washington.
No one would object to more length, but the Dodgers believe in their whole staff enough to let Hill hold nothing back.
“For me, I go out there and give everything that I have — that’s it,” said Hill, the starter for Game 3. “That’s the bottom line. Your effort is everything. Your ability to go out there and stay in the moment and execute pitch to pitch and do the best that you can, that’s it. Let everything else fall where it may. But the W at the end of the day is all that matters.”