Rich Hill makes long awaited debut

May 16, 2009 |

Rich Hill will make his long awaited Orioles debut tonight against the Royals in Kansas City.

Hill, who has been sidelined with an elbow injury since Spring Training, will be penciled into the number three spot of the Orioles rotation until season’s end.

The question that the Orioles and their fans are asking is which Rich Hill will show up?

Will it be the Rich Hill that went 11-8 with a 3.93 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 2007, or will it be the Hill that pitched an injury filled 19 innings in 2008 and walked 18 batters while striking out only 15?

When the Orioles first acquired Hill from the Cubs, I thought that he would be a guy that could provide stability to the rotation and is more then capable of winning 15 games this season.

With all do respect to the National League Central, it is nowhere near as tough to pitch in as the American League and that will be the biggest adjustment Hill will have to make.

Starting on the road against the Royals will take the pressure off Hill and he will face a lineup that is potent, but has been struggling as of late, although don’t tell Adam Eaton that.

Pitchers often struggle when they switch leagues, especially if they jump from the National League to the American League. Hill will be looking to avoid this fate.

The Orioles acquired three veteran pitchers in Hendrickson, Eaton and Hill, and Hill is the one with biggest upside and highest expectations. If Hill can pitch well and this team continues to hit, then the Orioles could hover around the .500 mark all season.

Orioles fans need to have realistic expectation for Hill. The guy is 29 and has only pitched one full season in the majors. He pitched limited action in Spring Training and will have to batters in a new league. He is capable of being a 10 game winner but let’s not anoint him as the savior of this staff, even though in my opinion he is the most talented pitcher on the Orioles.

Hill’s stuff his definitely Major League worth but his durability and mental toughness will be tested. He will most likely be pressing, trying to make up for lost time and he will want to show everyone that he is the 2007 Rich Hill.

Rich Hill is an enigma for this team. He could end up being another pitcher in a long line of talented, hill touted “busts” or he could provide stability and wins for a ball club that so desperately needs it.

The Orioles got Hill for virtually nothing so will stick with him for the rest of season regardless how he pitches.

I do not know how Hill is going to pitch nor do I care. I am just happy to see someone other then Mark Hendrickson in the rotation.

Welcome to Baltimore Rich and for God’s sake please pitch well!!

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