Hill Climbing in the Flatlands

Expecting to see the enigmatic Rich Hill make a not so triumphant return to the scene of some of his finest professional work, I headed to the ballpark last night planning to call it a night whenever he did.

He only lasted five innings but I stayed for a sixth when it was assigned to Scott Eyre.

The battery in the starting lineup was Hill squared, and after three innings it was hard to say whose arm was more impressive, the left of Rich or the right of Koyie. At that point Rich had fanned three but Koyie had thrown out a man stealing and picked another off of second.

For the record, Rich Hill allowed seven hits and two runs while walking one and striking out five on the night. I had him for 47 strikes among his 78 pitches, but left with other less quantifiable impressions of his work.

Hill's misses weren't close. The 'balls' he threw were so flagrant that the batter was rarely tempted by them.

So in love is he with his buxom curveball that he was even throwing it on the majority of his warmups between innings.

His mind still seems to wander. Where does it go? Despite his catcher's best efforts to protect him from himself, [Rich] Hill allowed Tacoma's catcher to steal third practically standing up after a fifth-inning double. Consequently the infield had to draw in [the score at the time was 1-0, Rainiers] and it cost a run when the batter burped a faux base hit over the shortstop's head that landed just beyond the seam of infield dirt and outfield grass.

The other run Hill allowed came on a first-inning homer by a left-handed hitter who came in at a .400+ clip versus southpaws. Sandwiched between two swinging strikeouts, it was both well-struck and windblown to the opposite field.

Hill's windup has always seemed too elaborate and flamboyant to me and it still does. The number of things that could go wrong exceed his margin for error.

He took the loss in a 5-2 game. Among the seven hits he permitted were three doubles and the homer, all of them hit on the button.

As for Eyre, he fanned a lefty, gave up a homer to a rightie [Mike Kinkade, bless him, who, as an I-Cub last year pulled off a straight steal of home to upstage the tired, 'Famous Chicken' one night in Des Moines], popped up a lefty, gave up a ringing double to a rightie and, finally, fanned a rightie to end his inning.

CRUMBS: Glad to see AZ Phil's post on Micah Hoffpauir's status; nothing in the I-Cub media notes last night about his return...PESKY REDHEAD UPDATE - After last night's 'ofer' Matt Murton now has 78 plate appearances this year between Des Moines and Chicago without an extra-base hit...Eric Patterson has been activated from the DL but didn't play last night...the team continues to be 'uniform' in wearing their pants tucked just below the knees; Eyre's pajamas were the conspicuous and lone exception...ex-big leaguer Hector Carrasco has also joined the team's bullpen...Sam Fuld's thumb has finally healed to the point of regular playing time. Last night he had a double the other way and got thrown out stealing third...Jake Fox came out of his slump on the recent road trip through California. He had four doubles in a game against Sacramento, tying a club record...just happened to notice while waiting for last night's game to begin that the Salt Lake Bees [Angels] are off to a 25-5 start in the PCL, reminiscent of the '84 Tigers' break from the gate. We'll see if their losses have reached double digits by the time they make their only trip of the season to Des Moines in early August...I hope to check out Kevin Hart's start tomorrow in a scheduled matinee...MW

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Comments

Hill was mostly throwing fastballs in his start vs the Cardinals, so I'm thinking that they decided he needed to work on controlling his curve.

The sooner he gets this figured out and we can have a rotation of Z, Lilly, Dempster, Hill and Gallagher, the better. 

I hate to be mean, but has anybody ever heard Hill try to talk in an interview? Once he gets past the basic Nuke LaLouche quotes (http://thinkersandjokers.com/thinker.php?id=1944) he's pretty much toast.

Well he did attend college at Michigan. What do you expect? :)

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  • as a fan, he only "owes" us the game on the field and not getting in the way of others on his team being ready to play (imo).

    it's exponentially worse to his family and friends, but this dude most likely had 15+ years of play left and even though he just turned 24 a couple months ago he had already established himself as a top guy in the game.

    crunch 1 hour 10 min ago view
  • Carrie Muskat [email protected]

    Updated #Cubs probs vs Pirates: Mon, Hendricks vs Kuhl; Tue, Lackey vs Vogelsong; Wed, Arrieta vs Taillon; Thu, Zastryzny vs Nova

    crunch 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • I know what you're trying to say, Charlie, that none of us feels what his loved ones must be feeling.

    On the other hand, what makes a death like this tragic is precisely the loss, based on Fernandez's youth and brilliance, to the baseball world.

    So, for example, we can say that Princess Diana's death meant more, in aggregate, to millions of admirers who didn't know her personally than to her loved ones.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 34 min ago view
  • boston pitching snags a couple of mlb team records...

    "Over nine innings of play, Boston's staff struck out 11 straight Tampa Bay Rays hitters Sunday, breaking the major-league record for most consecutive strikeouts in a game.

    The previous record was held by former New York Mets right-hander Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight hitters in 1970.

    Not only that, but with a strikeout to end the ninth, sending the game into extras, Boston's staff also struck out an MLB-record 21 batters over nine innings."

    crunch 1 hour 58 min ago view
  • What a loss to baseball, which I'm sure pales in comparison to the personal loss to his loved ones.

    Charlie 3 hours 42 min ago view
  • Somehow I am sensing alcohol was involved. The highest number of boating accidents by a wide margin...

    The E-Man 4 hours 26 min ago view
  • crunch 6 hours 8 min ago view
  • Reports this morning that Marlins' pitching ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident - just horrible news.

    Eric S 10 hours 55 sec ago view
  • Check out John Arguello at Cubs Den for great analysis & photos from Cubs AZ Instructs

    link

    Arizona Phil 22 hours 15 min ago view
  • soler + hammel for mike trout is pretty much a sure thing. *nods*

    crunch 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • Not an inspired outing by Rondon. Seemingly got ahead of every hitter but had no swing and miss pitch today, slider had no bite.

    Somebody give Soler some smelling salts - yeesh

    Eric S 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • And...now that runner scores on a single...

    The E-Man 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • So where do you think Soler will be traded to this off season?

    jacos 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • And right on cue he throws to third with no chance to get runner on 2nd so the batter takes 2nd easily. How long has he been playing baseball??

    The E-Man 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • Man you cannot put Soler out there late in games for Playoffs. Yuch...

    The E-Man 1 day 3 hours ago view
  • Such is the life of a fatted calf...

    JoePepitone 1 day 4 hours ago view