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.
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.
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.