Baltimore Orioles: Did you know Rich Hill pitched in Birdland?

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07: Rich Hill #51 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on June 7, 2009 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 07: Rich Hill #51 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on June 7, 2009 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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The most unlikely pitcher to be the 2017 World Series, Rich Hill, played for one season with the Baltimore Orioles.

Back in 2009, Hill started 13 games for the Baltimore Orioles and had one of his worst seasons in his career.

Hill joined the Orioles after pitching for five seasons with the Chicago Cubs. At that point, his career ERA was 4.37. The Orioles purchased his contract in February of 2009 and let him go at the end of the season when he entered free agency.

Numbers with the O’s

In his one season with the Orioles, Hill would have fit in nicely with the 2017 pitching rotation. After pitching 19.2 innings with the Cubs in 2008, he had an ERA of 4.12. But, in his one season with the O’s his ERA increased to a horrible 7.80 in 57.2 innings. He gave up seven home runs and walked 40 of the 275 batters he faced that season.

ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 5: Pitcher Rich Hill
ANAHEIM, CA – JULY 5: Pitcher Rich Hill /

Hill’s unusual road to the World Series is one of serious struggles. The 6’5 left-handed pitcher struggled to find his stuff between 2009 and 2015. During that time, he moved from the Orioles to the Cardinals, then to the Red Sox. He stayed with the Red Sox for three seasons, but only pitched in 60.2 innings. He then moved to the Los Angeles Angels and the New York Yankees before going back to Boston.

Then, in 2016, Hill found his mojo with the Oakland Athletics and was traded at the deadline to the Dodgers where he became the second starter behind Clayton Kershaw.

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Stats from his O’s season

Interestingly in 2009, Hill was teammates with Justin Turner who also spent 2009 and part of 2010 in Birdland. Of the starting pitchers, Hill was, by far, the worst. Jeremy Guthrie started the most games that season and finished with an ERA of 5.04. Brad Bergeson had the best ERA of 3.43 in his 19 starts. Hill was the only left-handed starter in the rotation. This was also Chris Tillman‘s first season and as a 21-year-old he started in 12 games with an ERA of 5.40.

In 2009, he only pitched in three months’ worth of games. His best was on June 1 against the Seattle Mariners. He pitched seven innings that day and gave up only two hits. The Orioles ended up winning 1-0 that day. He had several bad outings, but the worst was on June 30 against the Red Sox where he gave up nine runs in 3.1 innings. Interestingly, the Orioles won that game 11-10. He gave up two home runs that day, too.

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Hill really is a Cinderella story. In his 13 years with the MLB, he has spent time in nine of them in minor league system. Now, at age 37, he is a part of the team that will play in the last game of the season. It is nice to see a former Orioles player find his way and finally see success.