The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently leading the NL Central division against all odds with a 20-12 record as of Friday afternoon.
A big reason behind their dominance has been veteran left-hander Rich Hill.
Signed this offseason to serve as a mentor for the Pirates’ young staff, Hill is showing he still has plenty of gas left in the tank even at 43 years old (or should we say 43 years young?).
Rich Hill is ageless. pic.twitter.com/SNx8D5kdw4
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) May 5, 2023
Hill won’t give you seven or eight innings anymore, but will give you five solid ones every outing.
In fact, he has four straight starts with five or more frames and two earned runs or fewer.
He is the oldest pitcher to do that since the great Bartolo Colon.
Any MLB offense is considered capable of being “in the game” when its starting pitcher allows no more than two runs.
Hill goes out there and gives his team a fighting chance.
For the season, he is 3-2 with a solid 4.18 ERA in six starts.
It’s not spectacular, but it’s what the Pirates need.
He has already covered 32.1 innings, and has gotten 27 strikeouts and has a manageable 1.39 WHIP.
More than what he has to offer on the mound, his presence as a clubhouse leader and mentor for guys like Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, and Johan Oviedo has plenty of value for an up-and-coming franchise.
Hill has been through it all as a major leaguer, and he should have advice for just about every situation: which pitches work best against certain opponents, the right mindset to face an injury absence, how to improve command, how to sharpen a curveball, and much more.
We are not saying he is the main reason for the Pirates’ hot start, but his presence certainly doesn’t hurt.
It’s very cool to see him matching or breaking age-related records.
It shows other veterans that there is a path to contributing to an MLB team even after reaching 40 years old.NEXT: The Pirates Have Flipped The Script In The NL Central