Dodgers News: Rich Hill Embraces Environment, Brings Intensity In Debut
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Hill proved to be worth the agonizing wait for the Los Angeles Dodgers. More than three weeks after he was acquired as part of a five-player trade with the Oakland Athletics, the southpaw took the mound in the second of a key three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.

Prior to Wednesday, Hill last started a Major League game on July 17. But the outing only lasted five pitches as the blister on the middle finger of his left (throwing) hand ripped open. Hill didn’t encounter any issues in his return to the mound, spinning six shutout innings.

“Something that I emphasized throughout the entire season in Oakland have carried over to L.A is to stay in the moment,” he said after debuting with the Dodgers.

“A pitch-to-pitch approach, making sure you can execute each pitch. I know one pitch at a time sounds cliche but if you can do that, it’s extremely beneficial.”

Hill picked up three strikeouts and scattered six hits — all singles. The outing was in line with what Josh Reddick saw from Hill during their time together in Oakland.

“I’m not really surprised. That’s Rich. I’ve seen it all year,” Reddick said. For all of Hill’s success, Justin Turner needed to give his new teammate some words of encouragement.

“He felt maybe he could’ve located a little better and was getting frustrated,” Turner said. “I was like man, ‘You’re doing an awesome job right now, just keep going. You haven’t pitched in a month.”

On top of holding the Giants scoreless and regularly inducing soft contact, Hill was efficient, throwing just 81 pitches. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts gave consideration to sticking with his starter for the seventh, but ultimately elected to lean on the confidence he has in the bullpen.

“Of course I wanted to keep going. The competitiveness by anybody at this level is you don’t want to come out of the game,” Hill said of Roberts’ decision.

“But I understand the situation. It’s been probably a month and a half since I’ve pitched in a competitive game at this level. You have to step back and look at the team as a whole and what’s best for the team.”

Roberts credited Hill for increasing the Dodgers’ intensity in the matchup with their longtime rival. For Hill, the first experience was an enjoyable one. “The intensity was extremely exciting with the crowd into it and guys making unbelievable plays behind me,” he said.

“You feel the passion that’s out there. The fans want to see intensity and effort. That’s something you can’t substitute. To me, effort is between the player and the player alone. When you watch a guy like Chase play, he plays hard for nine innings, every single out, and it’s great to see.

“Fans love to see that. For myself, that’s what I like to bring out there and into the environment.”

Perhaps of most significance to the Dodgers, Hill said the previously troublesome blisters were a non-issue.