Dodgers: Rich Hill and his notorious middle finger
Overall the Dodgers’ rotation has been great; they own the best ERA in the league. Many would say that the quality of depth on the mound has been the strong point of this team and just a single finger obstructs it from going up a level.
The Dodgers‘ starting pitching has been excellent even without their $48 million pitcher Rich Hill. The left-hander has pitched a total of eight innings this season as he has been dealing with his troublesome blister.
Hill is slated to pitch for the team again today vs. the Giants after his 2nd 10-day DL trip of the season. He will be pitching for his spot in the rotation, as Dave Roberts indicated that a bullpen role is an option if his blister continues to be troublesome. If it does flare up, the team might have a $48 million 37-year-old setup option.
Hill recently had two rehab starts for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and yielded very different results in either start. I attended the first of his starts and watched him give up four runs in 2/3 of an inning. I was very surprised by the hard contact given up Hill, but it did seem as if the umpire was squeezing him a bit. Nevertheless, it’s never good to not be able to make it out of the first inning.
In his second start, Hill looked like his dominant old self. He threw five hitless innings while striking out three and walking three. He was pulled after the fifth inning when he reached his pitch count and reassured the Dodgers’ brass he was ready for the big leagues again. After no issues through his first two starts, will he be able to produce after being away for about a month?
We all know about the injuries that have plagued Hill throughout his career, but his blister issues may be his strangest yet. It is hilarious yet frustrating that such a minor issue has sidelined dominant pitchers like Hill and it stems from the spin he puts on his powerful curveball. In the timeline provided by USA Today, you can see how Hill has been affected since coming over to the Dodgers.
Yeah, that’s less than ideal.
Going into Hill’s start on Tuesday, the only expectation we should have for Hill is to come out of the game blister-free. If he cannot finish his start I can’t see him sticking in the rotation. At that point the Dodger need to start thinking outside of the box to fix his issues. Whether it be Moises Alou’s famous method or just a simple “dry air” process, something has to be done.
As the season goes on, there will be a constant concern for Hill and his finger, but if he can avoid the disabled list we can start to look at Hill as an important piece of this strong rotation. As a matter of fact, Rich Hill may be a perfect pitcher for the Dodgers as they continue to brilliantly use the new 10-day DL.
Since the season started, the Dodgers have been abusing the new rule in order to basically roster a 26th man. We’ve already seen the team use the DL for 18 different players in 2017 and it looks as if they’ve found their way to keep pitchers fresh.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Giants laughably sign pitcher that Dodgers absolutely own
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
- Former Astro seemingly takes uncalled for shot at Cody Bellinger after Cubs deal
- Dodgers’ 2023 lineup without Trea Turner isn’t as impressive as it should be
- Recapping who Dodgers gained and lost in Rule 5 Draft
With an injury prone pitcher like Rich Hill, the Dodgers can basically throw him back onto the 10-day DL in order to give his finger rest and gain an extra roster spot. This is the best course of action for the time being, but once we get deeper into the season it may not be the best option.
It would be nice to keep rotating pitchers in and out of LA, but there is something to be said about getting into a groove before the playoffs. The team should use the time they have right now to gather information and think of solutions if Hill’s blister becomes a problem later down the line.
Rich Hill is the second best starting pitcher the Dodgers have right now (Alex Wood may beg to differ) and his addition to the rotation can put the team over the top. It would be great to be able to keep Hill in the rotation, but at this point it seems as if this blister may be his downfall.
Hopefully the Dodgers have talked with him and made sure to fix the issue. So, as you watch Hill take the mound this Tuesday, keep your fingers crossed and your breath held; this will be the most important start for our staff this season.