Don’t call it a fluke.
Although Rich Hill’s out-of-nowhere four-start stretch of brilliance with the Boston Red Sox likely isn’t sustainable, the 35-year-old left-hander is hopeful teams will recognize his accomplishments as more than just a flash in the pan when he hits free agency this offseason.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Hill told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford this week. “It’s just that body of work. You can’t look at that and deny what’s going on. Anybody in baseball who knows the game, if you’re looking at it, you have to acknowledge there’s a lot there. I think for me, I have to be a proponent of myself and go out there and continue to fight off the field as much as I did on the field.”
Hill suffered the loss Thursday night as the New York Yankees snapped Boston’s six-game winning streak. The veteran lefty still pitched well, though, and he’ll hit the open market this winter on the heels of a four-start audition with Boston in which he went 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA, a 0.66 WHIP and 36 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Not bad for a guy who pitched for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball earlier this season before signing with the Red Sox.
“The four games I pitched aren’t four games you look at and say, ‘That was just dumb luck,’ ” Hill told Bradford. “I faced the best hitters in the American League, and doing it in the American League East is something that can’t be denied.”
Hill faced each member of the AL East — Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays — in his four starts, which certainly lends credence to the southpaw’s stance that his late-season breakout wasn’t a walk in the park. He also had some major league success earlier in his career, both as a starter and a reliever, so perhaps a team will carve out a role for the Milton, Mass., native.
“I’ve never spoke like this before in the past because for me to be humble is extremely important,” Hill, currently making the major league minimum, told Bradford. “But in this part of the game you have to go out and stand up for yourself and that’s something I’m looking forward to doing in the offseason.
“It’s confidence. It’s going out there and saying, ‘I can pitch for anybody, against anybody, anytime, anywhere.’ I feel very (full of conviction).”
Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill throws a pitch.
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