Rich Hill posted incredible strikeout totals in the minors while coming up through the Cubs’ system and had a 3.92 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 195 innings in his first full season as a starter in 2007.
Unfortunately because of injuries and prolonged bouts of wildness that stands as Hill’s only full season as a starter, and during the past three years he’s logged a total of just 81 innings in the majors with an ugly 6.53 ERA and 64/59 K/BB ratio.
After spending most of last season in the minors Hill joined the Red Sox in September and tossed four scoreless innings out of the bullpen, and now Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that they’re looking at him as a possible relief option for 2011.
He’ll compete for a bullpen spot on a minor-league deal that will pay $580,000 if he cracks the Opening Day roster and it could be a head-to-head battle with fellow control-impaired southpaw Andrew Miller. Hill’s fastball-curveball combo is definitely good enough to make an impact as a reliever, but counting on the 30-year-old lefty to simply throw the ball over the plate consistently is a big question mark.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was once again ejected from an NLCS game, this time in Game 4.
In the top of the eighth inning, closer Wade Davis found himself in a bit of a pickle. He gave up a leadoff home run to Justin Turner, cutting the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Davis then walked Yasiel Puig. He was able to get Andre Ethier to pop up, bringing up Curtis Granderson. Granderson worked the count 2-2, then fouled off a pitch. And then he appeared to swing through a curve that bounced in the dirt. Catcher Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out, but Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, so it was a foul ball.
Wolf conferred with the other umpires. After a brief delay, the strikeout was overturned and Granderson was given new life in the batter’s box. Only… replays showed that Wolf got it right the first time.
Understandably, Maddon was livid. On the broadcast, one could see Maddon gesturing to the umpires to look at the replay on the video board behind the stands in left field. The argument fell on deaf ears and he was ejected. Thankfully for the Cubs, justice prevailed and Davis struck out Granderson on the next pitch.
It’ll be interesting to see if Maddon makes any political comparisons after the game. He likened the slide rule, the impetus behind his Game 1 ejection, to the soda tax.