A new light was shined on one of the controversies of the World Series by Dodgers pitcher and Massachusetts native Rich Hill.
In Game 4, Hill pitched 6.1 scoreless innings, putting Los Angeles (at that point up 4-0) in a favorable position to tie the series at two games apiece. Yet after striking out Xander Bogaerts with a runner on first in the top of the seventh, he was taken out of the game by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
The Red Sox promptly rallied as Hill’s teammates were unable to hold the lead, falling 9-6. Boston went on to win Game 5, clinching the 2018 World Series.
The decision by Roberts to take Hill out was heavily criticized after the loss, with even President Trump included among those who disagreed. Afterward, additional information emerged about Hill asking Roberts to “keep an eye on me” before heading out for the seventh.
And in a recent appearance on Rob Bradford’s WEEI podcast, the Bradfo Sho, Hill revealed another strange fact: He didn’t learn for sure that he would start Game 4 until hours beforehand.
“That morning,” Hill explained, saying that the status of Game 4’s starter was “up in the air” until then. It was part of a strategy that Roberts considered using to throw off the Red Sox lineup selection.
“The funny thing is about that Game 4 is that I wasn’t even going to start that game,” Hill said. “They were going to start a reliever. So I think that was where a lot of the confusion came in for, ‘Well, we don’t know who’s starting for the Dodgers, and we can’t set our lineup.'”
“And look for me, I’ll do whatever it takes for the team to win,” Hill explained. “That’s who I am, that’s who I have always been.”
Still, the 38-year-old admitted that he had his doubts about the strategy, which Roberts ultimately didn’t go with.
“I was not on board 100 percent at the time for coming out of the bullpen for the second inning as opposed to just starting the game,” said Hill. “There’s a rhythm, there’s a flow to the game that the starting pitcher gets into and I don’t know if the World Series is necessarily the time.”
“And we’re not talking about the regular season, we’re talking about the World Series.”
Even still, Hill explained that his circuitous career prepared him to deal with unpredictable circumstances.
“I think that is kind of the part you have to adjust as you get older,” Hill said. “My wife and I have been all over the place playing. We’ve been to hell and back and we’re here, so really being affected by pitching or starting or whatever in the World Series is really a minuscule thing compared to many things that are going on.”