NL West: Dodgers’ Rich Hill unable to start again

Rich Hill (Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES — With Rich Hill unable to answer the call again, rookie right-hander Ross Stripling has been cast in another leading role.

Stripling (3-3, 3.79 ERA) starts Friday when the Los Angeles Dodgers host the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game series. On Saturday, Stripling worked five scoreless innings, allowing four hits in a 3-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

This will be his first time facing the Pirates.

Blisters on Hill's middle pitching finger have kept him on the disabled list and unable to make his Dodgers' debut since being acquired from the Oakland Athletics before the trading deadline. He hasn't pitched since July 17 when he was with the A's.

“I think that if we weren't winning baseball games (our frustration with Hill's situation) might be a little more enhanced,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the Orange County Register.

Roberts isn't sure when Hill will pitch.

“Rich is doing everything he can,” Roberts said. ” There's only so much you can do. It's the hand he's dealt and we're dealing with it.”

Pittsburgh's Ivan Nova (8-6, 4.83 ERA) opposes Stripling. Nova struck out five, walked none and allowed three runs on six hits in seven innings in his Pirates' debut, a 5-3 decision over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday. The Pirates obtained Nova from the New York Yankees on Aug.1 in a non-waiver transaction.

Nova has never faced the Dodgers.

The Pirates (57-55) defeated the San Diego Padres 4-0 on Thursday behind eight scoreless innings by rookie Jameson Taillon. It was Pittsburgh's fourth win in six games, taking two of three from the Padres.

Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli sat out the contest after aggravating his surgically repaired left wrist injury Wednesday on a swing. Cervelli's availability for the Dodgers' series is unclear.

“It's just the same thing. Sometimes with swings like that, I feel a lot of pain,” Cervelli told MLB.com. “It's normal because I had surgery. … I've been working hard to come back and put in 100 percent, and it just got numb.”

Los Angeles (64-50), which was off Thursday, took two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies but fell in the series finale 6-2 on Wednesday, dropping them out of first-place tie with the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

“We're aware of it but you don't think about it,” Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said of the race with the Giants. “We're just at the beginning of August. You start to pay attention more in the second week or the third week of September. But we all know it's going to be a battle all the way to the end.”

Los Angeles got a scare in the Phillies' loss when Corey Seager went down after being hit by a pitch on his right wrist. X-rays were negative and it appears the All-Star rookie shortstop will be ready for the Pittsburgh series.

“Corey's fine, it's just a little bruise. That's as quick as I've come out of the dugout in a long time,” Roberts joked.

The Pirates captured three of four from the Dodgers in June at Pittsburgh and are 13-4 versus Los Angeles since the start of 2014.