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Dave Roberts Was Probably Just Following Orders When Robbing Rich Hill of History

Rich Hill

Leave it to the Dodgers to pull something incredibly infuriating and piss everyone off during a 5-0 win. Most people are angry about Dave Roberts and the management team deciding to pull Rich Hill in the bottom of the eighth after he was throwing a perfect game for seven innings but I am not the least surprised by it. This is what’s been going on since spring training.

The people who are not upset by Hill being robbed the chance to make history will probably point out that the Dodgers were doing the “prudent” move and saving Hill from further injury and the Dodgers “need him for October” and all this kiss butt junk. Here’s my opinion and what I think is the truth of the matter, Dave Roberts and the coaching staff were merely following a mandate passed down during spring training from the front office. That mandate is simple; don’t let any starting pitcher no matter the circumstance go over 90 pitches.

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That includes all starters, veterans, rookies, journeymen. They don’t care about the situation, they don’t care if there is a no-hitter, perfect game, they don’t care if Ed Walsh himself rose from the grave to ride on top of Rich Hill’s shoulders and throw a spit ball. They are so scared of injury that they will hook every single starter after the sixth inning and that’s what they’ve been doing all season long.

If you remember they hooked Ross Stripling when he had a no-hitter going after 7 innings back in April against the Giants in San Francisco. It’s so frustrating to watch, yet this is the Dodgers, and this is what they do now.

This may seem like a silly opinion to some, but the differing comments from Roberts, Hill and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt point to this…..

After the game, Roberts and Hill gave conflicting stories about Hill’s blister-plagued finger. Roberts said the finger was building “heat”. Hill said he felt nothing unusual, and his finger was fine. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was asked what were the mitigating factors behind pulling Hill. Honeycutt gave a long answer that didn’t list a single one. When he was further pressed on Hill’s status, Honeycutt said Hill was physically fine. There was nothing wrong.

Another reason I believe for the mandate to hook everyone at 90 pitches is because it’s simply part of their strategy. I think they believe that the best chance for the club to win is to get 5 or 6 innings from their starter and then use 4 or 5 relievers the rest of the game. The Dodgers do have a good bullpen, but this is not a conventional strategy for winning normally.

The relievers start to burn out or get hurt. What if the game goes extra innings? In September it’s ok because you have expanded rosters, but the rest of the year….Well. Somehow though it’s worked, and I do respect the front office for building a great club. The depth is there, even if this interesting strategy is not pretty on the eyes. It’s hard to watch Josh Fields enter a game in the fourth inning.

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It just sucks when you rob a guy of making history. Roberts said something about Hill’s fingers emanating heat and that was a sure sign that the blisters were returning or whatever. I don’t know if that is true or not and I am certainly not a blister expert, but it sounds like a bunch of BS to me. Look it’s a blister and not a torn UCL. Let the guy finish the game, he had only made 89 pitches for crying out loud. What do I know though right?

One thing I know for sure is that Dave Roberts is certainly not going to lose any sleep over this like he claimed to the media. That’s because he was merely following orders from Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi. This is what modern baseball is now and we are just going to have to get used it. I remember the days when pitchers were allowed to finish their perfect games, I tell you what guys. Those were the days…..

And get off my lawn.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

32 thoughts on “Dave Roberts Was Probably Just Following Orders When Robbing Rich Hill of History

      1. No; I’m pretty sure your wrong.

        Possible options:
        Hill stays in, pitches perfect game
        Hill stays in, gives up hit.
        Hill stays in, pitches perfect game but blister acts up. Result is he misses starts.
        Hill stays in, gives up hit and blister acts up. Result is he misses starts.

        Other variations possible (among which include a no hitter vice a perfect game), but the percentages are still around the same. In only one case do we get the preferred outcome. All others result in at best a typical game or a injury.

        You love to go on about how bad the front office is yet you complain when DR does was best to stay on target for the ultimate goal. It’s always easy to rail against decisions when you have no responsibility for any outcome.

        1. I actually gave the front office accolades for doing a good job building a good club. Did you bother reading that part? Or should I quote it for you?

          You’re upset because my opinion isn’t a popular one and you want me to tell you what one million other people have because it’s easier to do that than actually reading between the lines and looking at a pattern that has been going on since opening day.

          This is the pattern Gracie,

          Starter goes 90 pitches and is hooked immediately. That’s it. It happened in April, May, June, July, August, and now September. Do you think Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman communicate at all? I’m pretty sure that they do. When postgame comments from the pitching coach and the manager are completely different it points to something else. What do you think?

          Seriously think differently. Look beyond the surface.

          I actually think the front office and Roberts has done a great job this season managing all of the injuries, but this was a mandate made before opening day. Planned out before Hill ever took the mound for his first start as a Dodger. I am no complaining, merely pointing out something that people are not paying attention too.

          90 pitches and hook. Look for patterns.

          FYI, an extra 15 pitches is unlikely to hurt him, if he was still having blister problems it was hard to tell by the way he was mowing down the Marlin lineup like the second coming of Koufax.

          1. Maeda last start was over 100 pitches. I’m no Einstein but I think that’s greater than 90.

            If 90 is the limit and the Dodgers are in first place where is the problem?

            With 2 innings left Hill would most .ikely need 10-15 pitches per inning. So 20-30 pitches where spin rate and finger pressure are critical would add to wear on his blister finger.

          2. How many starts has Maeda made over 100 pitches? One maybe two? It’s rare that any starter hits 100 this season.

            We don’t know how many pitches he would have needed. The way he was pitching my guess is he wouldn’t have needed many. He could have induced 3 grounders on 4 pitches and been out of the inning in 5 minutes.

            Honestly I’m not upset at all. They won the game and that’s all I care about. It would have been nice to see him get a chance to go for the perfect game. I don’t care about the perfect game. I’m just pointing out a pattern that points to something greater.

        2. The ultimate goal is to win, my dear. And, this is not a computer game where the ‘human’ element is absent except for pressing the buttons.

          90 pitches and the button is pressed. Fuck all to the mental aspect of the game, eh? It’s all an algorythm to you? lol. I guess Dave Roberts gets a message on his ipad saying ‘yank the pitcher’. So Dave Roberts has no say and the mgr. could be any one of us receiving the day’s program on our ipad?

          Doesn’t fly for me.

  1. Scott, you and I normally agree or disagree, but that is one of the dumbest things I have ever read.

    Just my opinion.

    Hopefully, you won’t ban me…

    You would make a few people happy if you did.

    I just call it the way I see it.

    1. I wouldn’t ban anyone, but the differing comments from Dave Roberts, Rich Hill, and Rick Honeycutt after the game point to this

      “After the game, Roberts and Hill gave conflicting stories about Hill’s blister-plagued finger. Roberts said the finger was building “heat”. Hill said he felt nothing unusual, and his finger was fine. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was asked what were the mitigating factors behind pulling Hill. Honeycutt gave a long answer that didn’t list a single one. When he was further pressed on Hill’s status, Honeycutt said Hill was physically fine. There was nothing wrong.”

        1. Why wouldn’t he make his next start?

          I do believe the guy that actually owns the finger. Even Honeycutt confirmed that there was nothing wrong with his finger. If he was injured you certainly couldn’t tell by the way he was ya know throwing a perfect game.

  2. I’m on your side Scott.

    Heaven forbid the FAZ-holes should think about the fans who just might want to see a pitcher throw a perfect game!

    In modern baseball fans, drama, entertainment don’t enter into the equation.

    1. Come on Mark, it’s a blister. Not a torn UCL. Look beyond the surface. Look at the history this season from the beginning of the season. Ross Stripling’s hook in April, the countless games of starters going 5-6 innings. You don’t think Roberts and Andrew Friedman communicate?

      Read between the lines.

      1. Nonsense. Stripling was making his first mlb start after coming back from tj surgery. He’s in the cold weather in SF already at 100 pitches . There was no way he was going past 90 pitches or 6 innings until the no no kept going.

        Ross Stripling’s father personally called Dave Roberts thanking him for pulling his son and thinking about his elbow and his long term health. But who cares what he said. Some Dodger fans need a no hitter more than anything in the world!!

        And all of our starters only go 5-6 innings, because that’s all they CAN GO!!!! Aside from Kersh, none of these guys is strong or good enough to go 8!! Not because that’s what Friedman wants, but because of who we have on the staff (then again, that’s what Friedman put together)

        And for those that think “it’s only a blister” please go study blisters. It’s a stupid little tiny issue that completely screws with your pitching, and takes a long time to heal if the blister is allowed to open. Not only that, if a blister does open the inside of the blister can become infected, thus causing even further injury and long term issues. We’ve all bitched how we traded for a guy who had a blister issue, and how he only made 3 starts for us since Aug 1. Now we want that same guy to go all out for 1 game, which may completely screw him for several weeks. The trainers told Dave Roberts that yesterday’s blister was getting tender. But again, who cares. Some people want to worry about 1 game. Yes, it’s history. But a world series is more important.

      2. It’s a blister that has kept him on the disabled list a third of the season. It was a “blister” that was described as more like the tip of his finger being torn off.

        In trying to defend a position that is indefensible you keep on making more indefensible arguments.

  3. I agree there’s a difference between a young pitcher coming off TJ surgery early in the season and a 37-year old veteran with a chance to make history.

    There was an article on Hardball Times earlier this year about how it was becoming more cost effective to spend money on relievers and just find starters who could go five. What are the odds AF read it? It’s true that fewer and fewer starters can get through a lineup the third time, largely because they’ve been on pitch counts since little league.

      1. That is a valid and interesting point. If a solid starter can get u thru 5-6, then does a stud bullpen ensure more wins? And if so, then what’s the cost analysis on that? How much is it per win?

        It’d be interesting data to see

      2. Scott
        Because of Hills history I thought Roberts made the right move.

        But I caught Hill at the end, when Alana was interviewing him last night.

        And I swore I heard Hill say something about the front office and Roberts being under a lot of pressure, in the same sentence.

        I tried to see that interview again, but the other networks, only played a shorten version of Hills interview.

  4. And the latter was how quickly everything can go to hell in a handbasket ..
    ..Still 3.5 ahead and grinding… Go Blue..
    Gracey, like I said about raising the tide in the ocean…

  5. I’ve gotta admit, you have an interesting theory here, Scott.
    Aside from nitpicking over one guy threw 100 pitches here, and another threw 92 pitches there, overall, the pattern is 90 pitches (more or less) and then the hook.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched pitchers get yanked after 5 or 6 innings when it sure looked like they were cruising or at least doing well enough to handle another inning.
    And then we’re all reminded about how “overworked” the bullpen is. *sigh*
    Well then, leave the bloody pitcher in for another inning! You might even get two.

    1. Pitchers aim for 15 pitch per inning. So 6 innings x 15 gets you 90 pitches (more or less). So from the 7th inning on you use your relief corp. This is what KC has done the last 2 years. Hence the trend. The Dodgers aren’t the first to do this.

      If you look at all 30 teams I think you will find a 90-100 limit.

  6. YADA, YADA, YADA…. I can just imagine how most of the “Should-have-left-Hill-in” crowd would absolutely howl if we were eliminated from post season play or early in post season play because of, “….if they’d only had Hill available.”

    You guys are forgetting that having Kershaw to anchor the post season rotation is by no means a certainty. Kazmir is out, Norris is out, Urias is near the end of his innings limit, even Maeda and his iffy arm aren’t a certainty after pitching every 5th day, unlike the rest of his career. Being very conservative with Hill is not only prudent, it was critical.

  7. Scott, I with you on the general point that you’re making. Reading your take wasn’t the first time it crossed my mind that the call came from the front office. I’m not so sure 90 is the magic number, but there is a reason why young pitchers all over baseball struggle to go past 5 innings. Arms break down if they’re overused and they break down even if they’re babied.

    When Honeycutt says that there was nothing wrong with him then I take his word for it. Dave Roberts is a great leader and is willing to take the heat for a unpopular decision or at least one that is controversial. However, for crying out loud. He was at 89 freaking pitches. He deserved the opportunity to go on and his teammates who were busting their butts behind him deserved to support his effort.

    One thing Mark and I have in common is that we’re both Colts season ticket holders. This reminds me of when Bill Polian pulled the plug on a perfect season against a mediocre Jets teams because he didn’t want any injuries before the playoffs. What happened? Well in the playoffs Dwight Freeney got hurt in mop up time during the AFC Championship. He sprained his ankle. Then in the Super Bowl he had nothing and the Saints won. Karma got the Colts for tanking. Unlike the Patriots, most of the country was rooting for the Colts to pull it off until they tanked that game. A 36 yr old journeyman deserved that shot.

    Just because people have a different opinion on this subject it sure as hell doesn’t mean we don’t understand either. Roberts was trying to provide cover with the blister/hot spot story. Honeycutt blew that up. World Series or bust now.

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