MLB News: Rich Hill's Impressive Outing Helps Red Sox Extend Winning Streak

Rich Hill
Wikimedia | UCinternational

Ernesto Cova

You can never count the Boston Red Sox out. As inconsistent as they've been throughout the season, they still have a shot at clinching a Wild Card berth and refused to be sellers at the trade deadline.

So, riding a three-game winning streak might as well be the catalyst they need to turn the tables and get on a nice run. And that's why Rich Hill's five-inning outing vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates was so crucial.

He Got It Together

Rich Hill
Giphy | MLB

Hill got off to a rocky start, allowing a two-run homer before getting an out. He was expected to be out there for a couple of innings max and then be replaced by Josh Winckowski. However, he quickly turned things around and became nearly unhittable the rest of the way:

“For whatever reason, it didn’t come out of my hand the way I wanted to,” Hill said. “As I got into the game, the ball started coming out better.”

Red Sox Needed That

Rich Hill
Wikimedia | UCinternational

That allowed the Red Sox to turn to Hirokazu Sawamura for a couple of innings and have Josh Winckowski and the bullpen well rested for Thursday's matchup:

“That’s what we needed,” Cora said. “Now, we’re kind of like a full force tomorrow with [Winckowski]. It’s a regular start for him, [John] Schreiber got a day and should be available, [Matt] Barnes is available. We should be good.”

Hill Gave Them A Big Boost

Rich Hill
Wikimedia | UCinternational

Hill has struggled to stay on the mound for most of the season. He's not getting any younger and was even willing to contribute out of the bullpen. Now, he emerges as another potential option for their rotation:

“He hasn’t pitched in a while,” Cora said. “He’s a guy who relies on command -- and it’s not command in the zone, it’s the fastball up in the zone that they chase. The breaking ball was sharp today. The slider was good. He got some lefties out, and that’s what we needed.”

Pitching Has Been Key

Fenway Park
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Pitching was supposed to be a point of emphasis this season, but it wasn't until the past couple of weeks that the rotation actually stepped up. That'll be key if they want to make a late postseason push, per Alex Verdugo:

“Starting pitching is huge,” said Verdugo. “For us, it’s big to hold leads, right? We gave up two early, got three back right away and we held them. That’s one of those things that it just gives the hitters confidence, kind of gets us back out there [saying,] ‘Hey, let’s add on.’”

So, will the Red Sox make the most of the time they have left? It sure seems like it.