Rays loss leaves Rays’ Hill frustrated

by Gary Shelton on June 30, 2021

in general

Zunino hit a ninth-inning home run./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

When. you think about it, maybe the water cooler had it coming.

After all, it couldn't get the Washington Nationals out early in the Tuesday night's game, either.

So there Rich Hill was in the bottom of the second inning, taking a bat to the water cooler to let out his frustrations. To be honest, he seemed quite dedicated to the task.

The Washington Nationals jumped on Hill early, scoring four runs before Hill recorded the fourth out, a start that led the Nats to a 4-3 victory.

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Washington's first nine hitters combined for three homers, two doubles, a single and a walk.

Hence Hill's meltdown.

“I don't’ enjoy not pitching well," Hill said. "I don’t know if it helps or whatever. We went back out there. Z (Mike Zunino) and I worked well the next four innings. We were able to keep us in a position that was somewhat decent. We didn’t screw up the bullpen too bad. They’ve been asked a big task this season so far. If there is a silver lining, that was it."

Hill had been of the Rays' most consistent pitchers, but Kyle Schwarber jumped on the first pitch for homer, his 16th in the last 18 games.

“I was tipping (pitches)," Hill said. "When you're tipping, you're making it a lot harder on yourself to go out there and have success. I’m glad we caught it. It sucked to put us into that position early on. It's not a thing I want to do at all for us."

The Rays made it close on home runs by Brandon Lowe and Zunino and a run-scoring double by Kevin Kiermaier. But the Rays were just one-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The Rays came into the game hitting .229 -- which would be the lowest in club history -- overall and .233 with runners in scoring position.

"That big hit wasn’t there tonight," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash.

Cash felt for Hill.

"They ambushed him," Cash said. "They have a. couple of good hitters, hot hitters, who came out swinging. They had a lot of hard hits. Give Hill credit, because after that first inning, it wasn't an outing where you thought he was going to get as deep as he did. He did not have his best stuff today. He wasn't as crisp. The velo was down a tick."

The tantrum didn't bother Cash, either.

"He's an intense guy, Cash said. "An intense competitor. He was frustrated with himself. He kind of came unglued there for a little bit. Maybe that helped him lock back in."

The Rays play Washington again today at 4:05 at Nationals Park. Drew Rasmussen will start for the Rays against Jon Lester.

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