The end result of Monday’s game between the Red Sox and Twins may have impacted Rich Hill’s start from evolving into a scripted storybook ending, but the Boston left-hander offered his biggest tribute by simply taking the diamond at Fenway Park.
Hill’s father, Lloyd Hill Sr., died at age 94 on Friday. It was Hill’s first time pitching since his father’s death.
“Yeah, it’s been, you know, it’s gonna be a long week. It was a tough weekend. But the job is to be a professional and show up and, you know, no matter what circumstances there are outside of the clubhouse, or outside of the lines, that you show up and you’re a pro and that’s something,” an emotional Hill cracked, “that I learned from my dad.”
Hill, a Massachusetts native, was scheduled to take the mound and did not give up the ball despite circumstances which would have allowed him to. He ended up pitching 4 2/3 innings in what eventually turned into a 8-3 loss.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora shared how the clubhouse was proud of Hill for competing.
“… For him to give give us 4 2/3 (innings) the way it started was great. And everybody is proud of him in this clubhouse,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I told him, ‘Thank you for competing, we’re very proud of you and go get them the next time.’ ”
So while the end result wasn’t perfect, the fact that Hill’s first start since the death of his father came on Marathon Monday — given that Lloyd Hill Sr. ran the Boston Marathon 37 times — made for a perfectly unscripted story itself.
“… He had a great life and, you know, taught me a lot of lessons and one of them is to show up and do your job even when things aren’t perfect on the outside.”
Here are more notes from Red Sox-Twins:
— Hill, despite the circumstances, was quick to accept blame for the loss. He allowed four runs on six hits including a pair of two-run home runs.
“I got to throw the ball better, that’s all,” Hill said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I know that this is a game of results and that loss is on me. We came up short because I didn’t set the tone right away and that’s difficult because I want to go out there and do that as a starting pitcher. That’s my job, to go out there and put us in a better position to win next time is what I’m going to work on.”
— Cutter Crawford took the mound for the seventh and eighth and allowed four runs on two hits with five walks in 1 2/3 innings.
“I mean, there were some good pitches, close pitches, good at-bats, right? The 10-pitch at-bat, that was a good battle,” Cora said of Crawford. “We’re not that off. We’re close. We’re close enough. We should be a little bit more aggressive early in the count and then after that, able to expand. Stuff-wise, he’s really good. Obviously, it’s not easy. This is something he hasn’t done in his career, but he’s a guy we trust.”
Cora explained how, despite Crawford allowing the Twins to put the game away in the eighth, the decision to keep him on the mound was done while knowing the upcoming schedule.
— Rafael Devers was a part of a head-scratching slide during the sixth inning in which the Red Sox slugger went from first to third base, avoiding a tag by Gio Urshela. Devers admitted after the game how he knew he was safe, and despite not knowing how to swim, perfected the swim stroke over the out-stretched Urshela.
“Unreal. I don’t know how he was save to be honest with you,” Cora said. “… But that was, I want to see it again. Because it looks very like The Matrix, right?”
— The Red Sox placed Kevin Plawecki on the COVID-19 Related Injured list Monday morning and called up Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester to fill his spot on the active roster.
— Boston will return to Fenway Park to host its American League East rival Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. The first game of the three-game set is set to start at 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch it on NESN following an hour of pregame coverage.
“It’s one of the best teams in the big leagues. Obviously, very powerful with one of the best players in the big leagues in (Vladimir Guerrero Jr.),” Cora said. “We play them a lot of times in the next two weeks, so we’ll see how we match up.”