Chicago Cubs: The story behind former Cub, Rich Hill

The Chicago Cubs are set to face Rich Hill tonight in Game 3 of the NLCS. For most of the current Cubs, he’s unfamiliar but to fans, they remember him quite well.

The Chicago Cubs drafted Rich Hill in the 4th round of the 2002 amateur draft. He made his big league debut on June 15, 2005, at age 25. Hill had an up and down career with the Cubs but broke out in 2007. In 2007, he went 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 195 innings. After that, though, his career began to derail.

After leaving the Cubs in 2008, (he only made five starts that year), he latched on with Baltimore in 2009. Shoulder surgery in 2009 derailed his career and forced him to the bullpen. He also had Tommy John surgery in 2011 that limited his appearances and further made it harder for him to come back and start.

The Red Sox took a chance on him in 2010 and he spent four years there, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. Hill was 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA in 44 games as a Red Sox and seemed to find success. Hill wanted to start, however.

After bouncing around between a few teams, Hill decided to step away from the major leagues in 2015. Hill decided to join the Long Island Ducks, an independent league in New York . The Red Sox then called him again towards the end of 2015.

A.L. East

Hill started down the stretch fro the Red Sox in 2015, going 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA and a 0.65 WHIP.

That good stretch netted him a one-year, $6 million contract from the Oakland Athletics for 2016. He excelled as a starter again going, 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA in 14 starts and 76 innings. Oakland did have much chance and wisely decided to trade him at the deadline. The Cubs were one of the teams that had an interest in Hill. They didn’t really kick the tires much though as they were happy with the makeup of their rotation.

Hill went to the Dodgers and made six starts, going 3-2 with a 1.83 ERA in 34 1/3 innings.

Needless to say, Hill is one of those feel-good stories. A once promising young starter with the Cubs. His career got derailed by injuries and the loss of his infant son to birth issues.

He found a way back to the big leagues and even back to the starting rotation, and now he faces his former team in the biggest game of his career. Hill did make one start for the Cubs in the 2007 NLDS.  His two starts with the Dodgers in the NLDS this year have also been less than memorable.

Bottom line, the last year for Hill was been fantastic, but his postseason track record isn’t all that good. The Cubs, who have hit lefties well all season, will try to take control of the series, against their former teammate. Only four current Cubs have ever faced Hill in their career.

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