Rich Hill pitched a perfect game Saturday. Well, part of one, anyway.
The Los Angeles Dodgers starter literally was unhittable in his outing against the Miami Marlins, retiring all 21 batters he faced through seven full innings while striking out nine.
That made it all the more peculiar, then, when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Hill after just 89 pitches with his perfect game still intact. The Dodgers went on to win 5-0, but reliever Joe Blanton allowed a hit in the eighth to spoil the perfect game bid, and Hill didn’t get a chance to make history.
Hill has been recovering from a blister in his pitching hand, and Roberts said that was the reason for the quick trigger. The veteran left-hander hadn’t thrown more than 89 pitches in a start since joining the Dodgers.
Still, Roberts’ decision to remove the former Boston Red Sox pitcher was pretty unprecedented, and, as you might imagine, controversial. Red Sox manager John Farrell almost dealt with a similar dilemma last Sunday when Eduardo Rodriguez took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and admitted he probably would have handled the situation a bit differently than Roberts.
“If it’s the example of Rodriguez, Rodriguez is going back out for the ninth inning regardless,” Farrell said Sunday before the Red Sox’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays, via MassLive.com. “But you know what, Rich has missed six weeks because of a blister. And that’s a heavy counterbalance to the decision.
“It’s easy to sit here in Toronto when he’s out on the West Coast making pitches. Hell, I probably would have run him out there at least for another inning and see where it goes from there.”
Roberts ultimately erred on the side of caution with his team in the thick of a pennant race, but we’re sure Hill wouldn’t have minded taking a bit of a risk for the chance to do something just 23 major league pitchers have accomplished.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images