I feel like in each other last few seasons I've said something to the effect of 'I don't know how many more seasons we're gonna get of Rich Hill, but I'm just glad he's here'. And I stand by it. Every season in his late 30s he's surpassed anyone's expectations for him after his injury-plagued Cubs years, and he's wound up in random places in the MLB, still throwing really well and coming through in a pinch. And it always feels like he's about to retire, but much like he did in a Foxboro parking lot, he always goes back for more.
Rich Hill is 42, and gets to live out his dream of being an everyday starter for his hometown Boston Red Sox. That alone is pretty damn cool. Yeah, he pitched for the Dodgers, that must have been nice, yeah he rode the stretch with the Mets once, and yeah he's played for Boston before both as a reliever and as a depth starter. But now the Sox are RELYING on Rich Hill, and he's still delivering. He's appeared in 21 games, has won 6, and has 79 Ks. His ERA does teeter around 5 sometimes, but he's honestly pretty efficient, and has been one of the team's more relied-upon innings eaters this year. And remember, the Sox have lost Nate Eovaldi, Michael Wacha and Chris Sale for large swaths of the year. So having Hill around for most of the season, even if he is, like 42-year-old Rich Hill, is still some security that the team must be glad they have.
I mean, let's be clear, the Sox aren't going to the playoffs. Like, the O's have the better case right now. The Sox have dropped too many July and August games, they're extremely low on valid starting pitching options, and even the bullpen is resorting to people like Kaleb Ort and Jeurys Familia to keep things together. So it's clear that the Red Sox are trying to hang onto as many good things as possible to save the year. Most of them are coming from Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers, who will never get the memo that a Sox team is doing badly and will ALWAYS overperform, because that's what they do. Bogaerts is hitting .315 with 153 hits. Devers is hitting .289 with 25 homers. These are two pieces that the Sox are glad they have right now, and with Bogaerts potentially on the way out, I hope they can savor every last moment.
The Sox are now just trying to fill seats til September. Triston Casas is up. He's...not hitting very well, but he's up. Michael Wacha is 10-1, isn't that a cool record? Come and see...former Yankee prospect Rob Refsnyder I guess! It's a futile effort.
I do hope the Sox can be good again next year, but it's become clear that the Red Sox doing well comes down to whether the pitching staff will be good, and once again this year it really wasn't. Will it come together for 2023? Even if Chris Sale is back and healthy, there's a lot that needs to be done.
Coming Tomorrow- An outfielder for a very, very dire looking team that's still somehow getting wins.