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Monday, September 12, 2016

Rich Hill was unreasonably deprived of a chance for a perfect game and Micheal Pineda of a win. Both should have defied their managers.

Let's look at two recent examples of when starting pitchers should have challenged and defied their managers.

I'm going to contradict what I wrote about a possible no-hitter because a perfect game is much more.

Johan Santana: How Big A Deal Is A No-Hitter? Monday, September 3, 2012

June 1 Johan Santana became the first Met pitcher to throw a no-hitter: 8-0 against St. Louis in New York. Met manager Terry Collins let Santana throw 134 pitches even though Santana missed the entire 2011 season with a bad arm. It is inconceivable that Collins would have let Santana throw 134 pitches in any other regular season circumstance. Collins must have valued that no-hitter beyond its actual value to the team. With the Mets leading 8-0 after seven innings, Santana did not need to pitch the last two innings. Santana benefited from a missed call by an umpire on a ball that clearly hit the foul line and would have been a hit.

Since that no-hitter Santana's ERA increased from 2.38 to 4.85. His final appearance of 2012 was August 17, his fifth consecutive loss.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016, 7:10 pm, Marlins Park
Attendance: 20,933, Time of Game: 2:52
Dodgers 5, Marlins 0


Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str Ctct StS StL GB FB LD Unk GSc IR IS WPA aLI RE24
Rich Hill, W (12-3) 7 0 0 0 0 9 0 1.80 21 89 62 32 9 21 2 10 3 0 86 0.333 0.64 3.3
Joe Blanton 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.44 4 15 12 7 3 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0.013 0.17 0.5
Grant Dayton 0.2 1 0 0 0 2 0 1.77 4 25 20 10 7 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.002 0.34 0.0
Kenley Jansen 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.75 1 2 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.005 0.18 0.4
Team Totals 9 2 0 0 0 12 0 0.00 30 131 95 50 19 26 7 11 4 0 86 2 0 0.353 0.52 4.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/12/2016.

Dodger starter Rich Hill was 36 years old March 11. He has pitched since 2005: 218 games, 91 starts in 595 innings. 2012 is his first season with the Dodgers, his ninth team: three games, all starts, 3-0. He pitched 5.33 innings in 14 games for the Yankees in 2014 and I have no recollection of him. Rich Hill is a journeyman lefty.

Sept. 10, 2016 Rich Hill had a chance for immortality. Rich Hill started for the Dodgers in Miami against the Marlins and retired all 21 batters he faced. Rich Hill was pitching a perfect game.

His Dodger teammates were helping. Through seven innings the Dodgers led 5-0, so allowing a single baserunner would not impact the game even if it was a home run. Hill was holding his own with 9 strike out in those 7 innings. Dodger left fielder Yasiel Puig went all out to preserve the perfect game with a fabulous catch in deep left center field. The Dodgers on the bench reacted to that catch with great enthusiasm. The Dodger players wanted that game to be perfect.

When Hill returned to the dugout after the seventh inning Dodger manager Dave Roberts told Hill that he was being removed from the game because Roberts feared that Hill was developing a blister on a finger on his pitching hand. A blister. A bleeping BLISTER.

Hill had thrown only 89 pitches so that wasn't much of a factor. Hill was removed because of fear of a blister. Hill's demeanor in the dugout suggests that he was not pleased but apparently he did not argue with Roberts. He should have.

Rich Hill should have demanded to continue pitching. Roberts showed no common sense. If Hill did develop a blister that would have made it more likely that Hill would have allowed a hit. Roberts should have let Hill pitch until he had a runner reach base, spoiling the perfect game. If Hill walked a batter, Roberts would have seemed much more reasonable if he then removed Hill even before he allowed a hit, since a mere no-hitter is not nearly as big a deal as a perfect game.

Hill should have raged at Roberts and, if still denied, stormed out and quit the team. Pitcher put up with way too much junk from tight assed managers.

Friday, September 9, 2016, 7:05 pm, Yankee Stadium III
Attendance: 30,194, Time of Game: 3:30
Yankees 7, Rays 5

Through 4 innings: Yankees 7, Rays 2

Pitching IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str Ctct StS StL GB FB LD Unk GSc IR IS WPA aLI RE24
Michael Pineda 4.2 6 2 2 2 7 2 5.07 21 77 51 19 18 14 5 7 5 0 49 0.037 0.86 0.2
Chasen Shreve 0.2 2 2 2 0 2 0 5.23 4 13 8 5 2 1 0 2 1 0 2 0 -0.013 0.81 -0.5
Adam Warren, W (5-3) 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 4.88 5 16 10 4 1 5 2 2 1 0 1 1 0.037 0.79 -0.0
Tommy Layne, H (9) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.49 2 6 4 1 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 -0.034 0.63 -0.3
Tyler Clippard, H (21) 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 3.13 4 14 10 6 1 3 0 3 0 0 1 0 0.089 2.10 0.9
Dellin Betances, S (10) 1 3 1 1 0 2 0 2.41 6 17 14 6 5 3 1 3 2 0 0 0 0.036 1.43 -0.5
Team Totals 9 12 5 5 3 12 2 5.00 42 143 97 41 27 29 8 18 9 0 49 4 1 0.152 1.03 -0.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/12/2016.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi removed starting pitcher Michael Pineda one out from qualifying for a win. What had happened? Fifth inning, Yanks leading 7-2: ground out, walk, ground ball single to 2B, ground out force at second by Tampa's best hitter, Evan Longoria. Two on, two out. Girardi popped out of the dugout to remove Pineda. Pineda exhibited muted displeasure, nothing like one of those legendary and alleged incidents of a pitcher yelling at his manager to get back in the dugout. Pineda should have done that. If Girardi still removed him, Pineda should have stormed off the mound and then out of the clubhouse and had his agent demand a trade.

If pitchers stood up to their managers, they wouldn't get jerked around in such an arbitrary manner. You may think that this is too oriented towards individual accomplishment. Let's not kid ourselves, players crave that and it's a legitimate and constructive motivation. The more a player achieves as an individual, the more he helps the team. There can be exceptions but generally this is true.

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