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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  • So, the Mesa Cubs should be solid this summer in the AZL Rookie League?

    And, I like the, "But did you know" lead in there. Something a little different.

    I can tell really like this group of hitters in AZ right now.

    What pitchers out there, other than Cease, should we be excited about?

    Thanks as always for the info.

    Childersb3 31 min 24 sec ago view
  • back on the Run Differential hunt... (aka The Hunt for Blue October)

    Cubster 59 min 42 sec ago view
  • These are the 2016 Cubs I know and love. Also digging that Cardinals OF (lack of) defense.

    Charlie 1 hour 16 min ago view
  • Another day, another eight runs

    jacos 1 hour 32 min ago view
  • I'm not sure there was another team in baseball that would flip a Dansby Swanson type of prospect (plus Inciarte, plus Toussaint) for Miller.  That trade was just comically bad from the start, and getting worse... 

    Transmission 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • Zobrist just keeps squaring up - and Soler goes yard!

    Eric S 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • Pirates jumping all over Shelby Miller tonight - so glad the Cubs didn't flip a Dansby Swanson type prospect to the Braves for him. Two years of Lackey looking like a good alternative.

    Eric S 1 hour 38 min ago view
  • 3rd inning...soler walked twice in the game...first time since aug 4th last year in the regular season (2 times in the playoffs, amazingly).

    crunch 2 hours 5 min ago view
  • Good gravy, was that a much-appreciated top of the first.

    Transmission 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • That's a good analogy, bb...  Nice to see tonight's game start with a 104 yard kickoff return TD.

    Transmission 2 hours 35 min ago view
  • Grichuk won the game last night but a decent CF would have caught that drive by Ross. Good Cubbery!

    Cubster 2 hours 35 min ago view
  • this game is WAY better than last night.

    6 run 1st for the cubs...

    crunch 2 hours 37 min ago view
  • Very bizarre game -- as you say, both Cubs pitchers were dominant until the one fatal pitch. It was like watching the Bears defense shut down a team, and then lose on 2 punt returns. Some better hitting with RISP would be a good idea, too.

    billybucks 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.

    Tito 5 hours 20 min ago view
  • Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?

    billybucks 5 hours 27 min ago view
  • "Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"

    No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.

    Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.

    The E-Man 5 hours 37 min ago view