Much like the team itself, Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill has struggled to find consistency this season. Also like his team, when Hill is at his best, he cannot be stopped.
Hill put together a dominant performance on the mound at Fenway Park on Wednesday, willing his team to victory in a game where his teammates were far from their best. The 42-year-old worked with pace, mixing his pitches and moving in and out of the zone to confuse Baltimore Orioles hitters on his way to nine strikeouts over six-shutout innings. That strategy caught the attention of his manager Alex Cora.
“(Hill’s) pitching characteristics are good. The spin rate and all of that stuff,” Cora said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I keep saying, Rich, sometimes he complains about all the new stuff, whatever, he is kind of the new-era pitcher. Fastballs up with spin, great breaking ball. You see the efficiency of his pitches and everything and he can pitch.
“Obviously the arm angles, and the pace, and sliders and all that are apart of the equation. But, I think if you put the pitches together one-by-one, they’re all really good. All of them. Velocity’s not 97-98, but just like a few guys in the league this year, changing speeds and using the fastball in certain spots, you can dominate. And today he did a good job with that.”
Much like Cora, Hill’s teammate Alex Verdugo poked fun at his age before paying him a compliment postgame.
“The guy’s been around longer than I’ve been alive,” Verdugo told NESN’s Jahmai Webster, as seen on the networks postgame coverage. “He’s on the money man. He’s always making adjustments, competing and trying to find out new stuff to keep him in the game. That’s a guy who can pitch for a long time if he wants. It’s fun to play behind him.”
Here are more notes from Wednesday’s Red Sox-Orioles game:
— With this start, Hill the only pitcher ever to make 25+ starts in a season for the Red Sox at the age of 42 or older and the first in baseball since Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey in 2017, per Red Sox media relations’ J.P. Long.
— With his double on Wednesday, Rafael Devers (186) passed hall of famers Lou Gehrig (185) and Stan Musial (185) for the sixth most doubles in MLB history for a left-handed hitter age 25 or younger, per Long.
— The Red Sox are 8-2 this season when wearing their Nike MLB City Connect uniforms, and 14-4 (.777) since unveiling them in 2021, per Red Sox information’s Raleigh Clark.
— The Red Sox and Orioles will complete their four-game set on Thursday. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET and you can catch all the action, including an hour of pregame coverage, on NESN.