Tampa Bay Rays veteran lefty Rich Hill was named the American League Pitcher of the month by Major League Baseball. What might be the most impressive thing about the award? Hill is 41 years old, and still thriving.
Hill earned the award by pitching to a 0.78 ERA throughout the month of May, racking up 36 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched.
Those 34.2 innings pitched were through six starts, in which his record finished at 3-1 in May.
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Rich Hill had the Yankees fooled in May
Two of Hill’s six starts in May came against the New York Yankees.
The first, and better of the two, came on May 13th at Tropicana Field. Through 6.2 innings the Yankees had no idea what was going on. The Yankees could only get three hits off Hill, two singles, and a double, without scoring a run.
And as he did throughout the month, Rich Hill had the strikeout pitch working. He carved up nine Yankees in that start using just over 100 pitches.
The Tampa Bay Rays would go on to win the game 9-1, giving Hill his second win of 2021.
Rich Hill’s best start of May
Although Rich Hill had a great month of May, he only pitched one game over seven innings. That came on May 25th against the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field
Hill was able to go eight strong innings in that start, allowing two runs, on six hits. However, his strikeout pitch was working.
Hill was able to strikeout 13 Royals hitters on only 99 pitches, talk about efficiency. However, the Tampa Bay Rays couldn’t get going, and Hill was stuck with the loss, his only one in May.
Rich Hill is a key to Tampa Bay Rays success
With July quickly approaching, the Tampa Bay Rays will need to make decisions on who they should, or shouldn’t add at the trading deadline. I personally believe the Rays should look to add a bat, and an arm, but we have plenty of time to discuss that down the road.
However, Rich Hill will be a key to the Rays pitching plans for the rest of the season. Obviously, it is unfair to expect Hill to pitch to his May ERA of 0.78 the rest of the season, but if he can be close to his May form throughout the season, it will put less stress on the Rays at the deadline.
Hill will obviously be a major key come playoff time due to all of his experience in the playoffs, and may even be a game-one starter depending on how the rest of the season goes. Only time will tell.
Congrats to Rich Hill on an incredible month of May, and I think I speak for all Tampa Bay Rays fans when I say, please keep it up. We need you.