Around the League

York's Ian Thomas (Dodgers), Rich Hill's Exploits Give ALPB More Bright Moments

While Rich Hill is dazzling his new Boston Red Sox teammates and Scott Kazmir will give the Atlantic League one really good bragging point during the major league baseball postseason if Houston makes it that far, it would be unfair not to recognize the help lefty Ian Thomas has given the Los Angeles Dodgers, who clinched the National League West championship late Tuesday night.

Thomas, who probably still faces long odds to be on the Dodgers' National League Division Series roster when they square up against the New York Mets, was called on by Don Mattingly six times in a 17-day span as the Dodgers were wrapping up the West.  After getting into only eight games all season with Atlanta and LA until he was recalled at the start of September, the 28-year-old worked eight innings during the month, allowing three runs along with eight hits and three walks and he struck out 10.

That should be encouraging for the native Virginian and Virginia Commonwealth University product, who started his professional career in Independent Baseball and got his first affiliated opportunity when Atlanta signed him after he had put up a 0.96 earned run average in seven relief appearances at York to start the '12 campaign.  Two years later he broke into the majors with the Braves, who sent Thomas to the Dodgers earlier this season.

Aside from the two major league teams, Thomas had a 4-1, 4.19 record for three minor league teams this year, including 58 strikeouts in the same number of innings.

Drew Would Add Another Chapter, If Healthy

Infielder Stephen Drew (Camden) of the New York Yankees could be another former Atlantic League player in the postseason although that is very much in doubt because of concussion-like symptoms suffered more than a week ago when he took a ground ball to the face while the Yankees were playing at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

Then There Is the Dazzling Rich Hill

The predicted contemplation of Rich Hill's chances to be with the Red Sox next season are building now that the 35-year-old southpaw, who made two dazzling starts for Long Island before Boston purchased his contract, has become the first Bosox pitcher ever to post three consecutive starts of seven or more innings with 10 strikeouts and no more than one walk in any game.

Hill, who has gone 2-0 with a 1.17 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 23 innings and hurled a complete-game, two-hit shutout against Baltimore in his last start, confirmed to The Boston Globe he went back to starting for the first time since 2009 at the suggestion of the Ducks.

“They brought it up and I decided to try it,” Hill told the newspaper. “Been taking (it) one pitch at a time ever since.”

As for next season, Hill told The Globe “I don’t want to even go there, really.  Just really kind of focus in on tomorrow and get ready for that next start (which is scheduled for Thursday night at Yankee Stadium).  You want to get to the finish line and worry about [next year] when it comes around.”

“Ten strikeouts in three straight outings is a pretty impressive number,” interim manager Torey Lovullo told The Globe. “It’s real.  It’s not happening because the hitters are overlooking Rich Hill.  They’re game-planning for him and they still can’t figure out what he’s doing.”

Lovullo had more to say about Hill to  “You start to get the feel that this is a little bit of a habit…he’s starting to give us a really good feeling that he can go up there any time and command the baseball and win a game.”

The back-to-back-to-back starts have put Hill in the record book.  Research by the Elias Sports Bureau, according to The Globe, found that he is the first pitcher in modern history (for any American League team) to strike out at least 10 in his first three starts following a gap of five years since his previous start.  He is also the first pitcher in history to make his season debut in September and strike out at least 10 in three consecutive games.

Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about the Atlantic League and Independent Baseball since 2003.  

Search Archive »

Browse by Year »


Browse by Month »

April 2024
March 2024
February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015