The Wolverine

October 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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OCTOBER 2017 THE WOLVERINE 71 BY CHRIS BALAS F irst, Rich Hill lost his perfect game on an error in the ninth inning, reportedly becoming the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to have that happen to him. As if that weren't bad enough, he picked up the loss Aug. 23 at Pittsburgh when his no-hit bid was broken up with a Josh Harrison home run in the 10th inning. The former Michigan pitcher (2002) handled it with class. "It falls on me, on this one," Hill told reporters after the game. "One bad pitch." The 37-year-old shut down 24 bat- ters with only 87 pitches, 67 of them strikes. The Pirates' Jordy Mercer hit a ninth inning shot at third baseman Logan Forsythe, who muffed it to break up the perfect game. It would have been the first in the Majors since Seattle's Felix Hernandez accom- plished it on Aug. 15, 2012. Hill also flirted with a perfect game on Sept. 10, 2016, when he threw seven perfect innings against the Mi- ami Marlins, but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed him because Hill had battled blisters, and he didn't want him to throw too many pitches. Hill said he was more concerned about the loss than the no-hitter, even though the Dodgers have run away with the National League West. They were 0-11 in their last 11 games and had lost 16 of 17 through Sept. 11, and still led the division by nine games. "We have something bigger than any individual here that's going on," Hill said. "That's something we all realize. … We're in it for the delayed gratification, not the instant gratification. "Right now, I'm just looking for- ward to [the next game]. I know it sounds a little boring, but that's it. I'm looking forward to getting in the gym and getting ready for the next outing. We have a lot of great things going on here." Hill has pitched for seven other teams in the majors, and five of them (Angels, Indians, Yankees, Orioles and Athletics) were for one year only. He earned his way back to the big leagues starting with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League in 2015. He stood 9-8 with a 3.67 ERA through Sept. 11. U-M's other two major leaguers, Zach Putnam of the Chicago White Sox and Clayton Richard of the San Diego Padres, have struggled in dif- ferent ways this year. Putnam went to the disabled list and had Tommy John surgery on his elbow after pitching in only seven games, notching nine strikeouts against only one walk and posting a 1.04 ERA. Richard has improved, but he still stood 7-13 with a 4.78 ERA through Sept. 11. He lost five straight starts from June 30 to July 30 before pick- ing it up, winning two of his next five starts with two no-decisions. The NFL BRANDON GRAHAM STARTS 2017 IN DOMINANT FASHION Brandon Graham didn't waste any time making his mark on the 2017 season, notching two late sacks to lead Philadelphia to a 30-17 win over Washington Sept. 10, the Eagles' first victory over the Redskins in six tries. Washington was down only five points with less than two minutes left in regulation when Graham burst around the left side and forced a Kirk Cousins fumble that one of his team- mates returned for touchdown to put the game all but out of reach. He added another on a first-down After reportedly becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to lose a perfect game on an error in the ninth inning, Hill surrendered a 10th-inning home run in a 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh Aug. 23. PHOTO BY JILL WEISLEDER/COURTESY LOS ANGELES DODGERS   MICHIGAN IN THE PROS Rich Hill Pitches Nine No-Hit Innings — And Loses

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