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Pirates Rich Hill slowing it down for dominant victory

The elder statesman of the Pirates’ ball club, Rich Hill, is turning his and the Buccos season around one start at a time.

MLB: Houston Astros at Pittsburgh Pirates
‘King of the Hill’: Pirates pitcher Rich Hill shines in Detroit and puts on vintage performance.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Following the series against the Washington Nationals, the Pittsburgh Pirates hit a slump of tough losses. Inconsistency on the mound and a lack of offense resulted in a bad stretch of games for Pittsburgh’s ball club. However, a series split against the Detroit Tigers may be seeing the ship turn back in the right direction, and Rich Hill is aboard to make an impact.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Detroit Tigers
Rich Hill beautifully used his curve to his advantage in his victory against the Tigers on Wednesday.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday’s final contest against Detroit was one where Hill truly stole the show. The offense overall was stellar with multiple players registering multiple hits, but the work on the mound is what really stood out.

On 84 Pitches, the 43-year old registered 56 strikes. Along with that, Hill allowed just one hit whilst also striking out seven batters and only walking two. He also had a memorable run to first base, making a play that most wouldn’t expect out of the oldest player in the major leagues.

There was nothing the Tigers’ batters could do against the psychologically dominant Hill, as he had several hitters chasing the creative and wild. Hill’s “heaters” were maxing out at 89.8 mph, and his curves were coming in as low as 64.6 mph as it was undoubtedly his best pitch of the day.

Hill went on to say that his chemistry with catcher Austin Hedges aided in getting the big win. In seven games together, Hill has an ERA of 2.65.

“All the credit goes to (catcher Hedges) and the game he called. I just followed his lead and executed pitches. That was it. I always talk about how the ball comes out of my hand. Today certainly was a day that it came out the way I wanted it to.”

Hill joined the Pirates in the offseason, and was meant to be a consistent presence in the rotation. However, the season has seen little of the aforementioned consistency the team was looking for, as Hill has had his fair share of struggles (as has most of the rotation). In fact Hill’s last start saw him get yanked not even four innings into the contest.

The victory against the Tigers however, seems to have been an incredible vintage moment for the man on the mound, as the win moved him to 4-3 on the season while also lowering his ERA to 3.80. Not to mention Hill is the only pitcher besides Mitch Keller to earn a victory on the mound since April 29 against the Nationals.

Glory days behind him no doubt, but on a very surprising and misfitted Pirates team, this may be the first signs of pitcher Rich Hill heating up as the game is slowing down.