I have very little room for sympathy when it comes to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Not only are they – by far – the best team in baseball this year, they also have more money to spend than almost anyone, a cache of young, exciting players, arguably the best president in the league, and are barreling towards a record-setting season (projected: 111-57.
Given all they’ve been graced with, then, there’s just not a lot of room for sympathy. HOWEVA, right now, I have some MAD feelings for Dodgers’ starting pitcher Rich Hill.
Last night, Rich Hill kept a perfect game going through eight innings, meaning he was just three outs away from the 24th perfect game in the history of the sport. Unfortunately, third baseman Logan Forsythe couldn’t handle a hot ground ball from Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the ninth and the first Pirates’ batter to get on base reached on an error. He still had a shot at the no-hitter, of course, but to lose your perfect game for reasons out of your control sure does stink.
Random Note: Perfect games (23 in history) are almost 13x more rare than no-hitters (296 in history).
Fortunately, Hill got Chris Stewart out on a sac bunt, before forcing Jose Osuna and Starling Marte to ground out softly and end the inning. So he got the no-hitter and everything was OK.
Except, no, he didn’t. And no, it wasn’t.
Despite pitching 9.0 innings of no-hit baseball, wherein just one batter reached and none scored, Rich Hill did not get credit for a no-hitter … because his team didn’t score a single run. The Dodgers average 5.08 runs/game this season (5th most in MLB), but they couldn’t squeak one single run out when it mattered most.
So, the game went into extras and, as I’m sure many people are now aware, no-hitters aren’t complete until the game is over.
The top of the tenth went quickly, as the Dodgers went down in order, before turning the ball back over to Hill. Unfortunately, on the fourth pitch of the inning and 99th of the ball game for Hill, Josh Harrison did something absolutely heart breaking:
Rich Hill threw 9 innings of a no-hitter, but the Dodgers didn’t score. Then Josh Harrison did this in the 10th. pic.twitter.com/wNFix7Dtfj
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) August 24, 2017
Perfect game gone. No-hitter over. Shutout over. Here’s your loss, Rich. Thanks for playing.
With no outs in the bottom of the tenth inning, Josh Harrison sent the 99th pitch of the ballgame over the wall in left field and walked the Pirates off. I can’t even begin to image what Hill was feeling in that moment, especially after the heart break of losing the perfecto in the eighth.
And in case this wasn’t all enough, let me remind you that Hill was lifted from his perfect game through 7.0 IP against the Miami Marlins on September 10th of last season, because he had dealt with some blister issues throughout the season, and was to be needed in the impending playoffs.
Rich Hill’s story was already crazy enough – the 37 year old starter has made multiple comebacks in his career – but this just adds more fire to the pages. Maybe one day he’ll get that elusive no-hitter/perfect game. And when he does, I suspect a whole lot of people will be cheering for him.