April 30, 2007

Pre-Game Notes - On Their Mound


CHICAGO CUBS (10-13) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (11-12)
APRIL 30, 2007 AT PNC PARK --- GAME #24, HOME #11
LHP RICH HILL (3-1, 1.57 ERA) vs. LHP ZACH DUKE (1-2, 6.92 ERA)
7:05 EDT NO TV


About Hill:
Rich, 27, is in his first full season with the Cubs after he made his Major League debut in 2005, appearing in 10 games (four starts) for Chicago … has gone 6-2 with a 1.78 ERA (14 ER/70.2 IP) in his last 10 starts dating to September 1, 2006.
Hill established himself as a reliable starter during the second half of last season … went 6-3 with a 2.93 ERA (26 ER/80.0 IP) in 13 games after the All-Star break.
Picked up various minor league honors in 2006 … named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Team and was the starting pitcher in the contest.
Also was named the left-handed pitcher on the Topps/Minor League Baseball Triple-A All-Star squad.
In 100 minor league games (78 starts), Hill has struck out 626 and walked just 210 in 451.2 innings of work.
Was selected by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2002 draft (scout: Scott May).
Graduated from Milton High School in Milton, Massachusetts in 1999 … attended the University of Michigan.

Last Time Out:
Tagged with his first loss of the season, April 24 vs. Milwaukee, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5 in the 4-1 defeat.
Had his scoreless innings streak halted at 19.0 innings thanks to a 2-run Prince Fielder home run in the fourth inning.

2007 Season:
Rich’s 1.57 ERA ranks 4th in the National League while his .146 batting average against ranks 2nd … tonight looks to pitch into the seventh inning for the 5th time in 5 starts.
Spun a gem in his first start of the season, April 6 in Milwaukee, allowing just 1 run on 1 hit (a Corey Hart sixth inning solo home run) while walking none and striking out 6 in 7.0 innings of work … Cubs went on to win, 9-3.
Retired the first 15 batters he faced before Hart’s home run to lead off the sixth.
Became the first Cubs left-handed starter to toss at least 7.0 innings and allow 1 hit in more than 30 years, when Stats, inc. began tracking the data in the mid-1970s.
Tossed 7.0 shutout innings and earned his second straight win April 14 vs. Cincinnati (7-0).
Allowed 3 hits and 4 walks while striking out 5 … just 2 baserunners reached scoring position while he was in the game.
Continued an incredible start to the season with 8.0 shutout innings en route to the 3-0 victory April 19 in Atlanta … allowed just 3 runners to reach scoring position.
Struck out 7 and walked 3 while allowing 4 hits.
The performance lowered his season ERA to 0.41 … according to the Elias Sports Bureau, Hill became the first Chicago Cub to win his first 3 starts with an ERA as low as 0.41 since 1918, when Phil Douglas won his first 3 starts with a 0.33 ERA in the “dead-ball era.”

2006 Season:
Rich split the season between Triple-A Iowa and the Cubs … after a rough month of May with the Big League club he was optioned back to Iowa only to return to the Cubs and solidify his spot in the starting rotation.
Overall, went 6-7 with a 4.17 ERA (46 ER/99.1 IP) in 17 games (16 starts) for Chicago last season.
Was recalled from Triple-A Iowa May 1, but went 0-4 with a 9.31 ERA (20 ER/19.1 IP) in four starts before he was optioned May 21.
Recalled again July 27 and produced 6-3 mark with a 2.93 ERA (26 ER/80.0 IP) in 13 games (12 starts) through the end of the season.
Enjoyed a strong September, going 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA (9 ER/42.0 IP), two complete games and 50 strikeouts in six starts.
Became the first Cub to record 50 strikeouts in a month since Mark Prior struck out 60 in the final month of 2003.
Tossed his first career complete game and shutout September 16 vs. Cincinnati … tossed his second complete game in his next start, a rain-shortened, five-inning affair in Cincinnati on September 22.
Despite making just 15 starts for Triple-A Iowa last season, he was ranked second in the Pacific Coast League with 135 strikeouts … he recorded 10 or more strikeouts in six outings, including back-to-back 14-strikeout efforts (July 16 at Albuquerque and July 22 vs. Memphis).
Hill was the Pacific Coast League starting pitcher for the 2006 Triple-A All-Star Game.

Player Images from Pressbox on MLB.com
Complete Game Notes can be found at Presspass on MLB.com
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