Rich Hill's Historic Performance Is Something We've Never Seen Before
Last night, Rich Hill didn't allow a run or a hit over his first nine innings of work. He ended up losing that baseball game.
Yeah, baseball is weird and mean sometimes.
Rich Hill...still perfect.
Chase Utley...still perfect. pic.twitter.com/7DTlLC9rF5
â€” Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 24, 2017
After an error to start the ninth, Hill finished that frame with a no-hitter intact. Normally when this happens, teammates run toward the pitcher and jump up and down to congratulate their hurler on a no-hitter, still one of the rarer occurrences in baseball. Unfortunately, the Dodgers couldn't scratch out a run against Trevor Williams, Felipe Rivero, or Juan Nicasio, and baseball rules mandate these things don't end in ties, so into extra frames they went.
After failing to score in the top of the 10th, Hill trotted out to continue his quest for one of the most memorable no-nos in baseball history. However, that pursuit of history was ended abruptly by Josh Harrison.
Josh Harrison breaks up Rich hill's No hitter in the bottom of the 10th with a Walkoff Homerun ðŸ˜³ðŸ”¥pic.twitter.com/KuhHyr4rww
â€” Baseball Kingâ„¢ (@BasebaIlKing) August 24, 2017
Even with that crushing defeat, Hill still made history. Just not the kind he wanted.
This is the first time in MLB history that a walk-off HR has broken up a no-hit bid.
(Via: @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/FheDz2W5Ra
â€” ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 24, 2017
ESPN Stats & Info says Hill is the first pitcher in the last century to throw at least nine innings, allow one or fewer hits with no walks and still get a loss. It was the first extra-inning complete game one-hitter loss since Harvey Haddix lost a game after throwing 12 perfect innings back in 1959 for, ironically, the Pirates.
Hill was the first pitcher to take a no-hitter into extra innings since Pedro Martinez on June 3rd, 1995, and attempted to become the first hurler to throw an extra inning no-no since Jim Maloney of the Cincinnati Reds did it against the Chicago Cubs in 1965.
It's fair to note that, even if Hill had managed to get through the 10th with the no-hitter intact, the Dodgers would have had to score in the 11th and Hill would have had to pitch the bottom of that frame, too. He entered the 10th inning with under 100 pitches thrown, but the odds of him pitching that 11th weren't good.
Obviously, his outing only accentuated the terrific season he's already had. In 19 starts (103 innings) he has a 3.32 ERA and has struck out 28.8% of batters faced while walking only 9.5%, and yet his 1.8 fWAR ranked just fifth-best among Dodgers starters, with Clayton Kershaw (4.1), Alex Wood (3.4) Brandon McCarthy (2.3) and Kenta Maeda (2.0) all ahead of him.
There's a reason why the Dodgers are 53 games over .500, ya know.
Hill likely lines up as the team's Game 3 starter in any October series, behind Kershaw and the recently-acquired (and currently injured) Yu Darvish. But as he showed last night against Pittsburgh, when he's on, Hill is as dominant a left-handed pitcher as any in baseball.