Rich Hill's horrific cameo appearance against the Cardinals was not pleasant. Still, the Cubs battled back. The battle was Alfonso Soriano against any ball hit to left. Sure, he tied it with a home run, but it would've been enough to win by a run if it wasn't for his defensive struggle.
Hill lasted just 2/3 of an inning, and Lou yanked him as soon as Michael Wuertz was ready. Hill finished off his day by walking in a run, on a pitch that didn't even come close to traveling the 60 ft. 6 in. required. He looked awfully uncomfortable, and seemed to try and take a deep breath, unsuccessfully, at one point.
Fox pitched a decent inning, with three straight outs to Reed Johnson. Coming back for the 11th was too much, and he gave up a two-run walk-off shot to Skip Schumaker, when he probably should have been done for the night. Oh well. Considering how it started, and Lou's need to save some bullpen for tomorrow (Hill down to AAA for a reliever?), it was actually something to build on.
As far as stuff goes, here's a look at Hill and Fox with PITCHf/x.
The system didn't get the 1-1 and 2-1 pitches Chad threw to Brendan Ryan in the 11th, otherwise we've got it all. I'll start with Fox, so those with weak stomachs can bail out before I go over Hill's night.
Chad Fox actually dialed up some heat, hitting 95 mph a few times (95.7 was his best) and each fastball coming in at least 93.6 mph. Other than the eight fastballs, and the two unknown pitches, he threw nothing but sliders. He started of the 10th inning with four straight sliders, and, to the best of my knowledge, only threw back-to-back heaters once.
Four Seam Fastball
speed 94.9 mph
pfx_x -7.8 in.
spin 221° @ 1565 rpm
speed 84.7 mph
pfx_x -1.5 in.
pfx_z 0.4 in.
spin 208° @ 230 rpm
On this plate location chart, you can see he threw strikes. The slider caught a lot of the plate very often. I turned the bubble for the slider Schumaker hit for the home run black - it was right down the middle. It was pretty much an average slider for Chad on this day, in terms of measured spin movement.
I find it remarkable how he kept everything up. Not a good sign.
The remainder of this post contains a graphic depiction of Rich Hill's start in St. Louis. It is not recommended for all audiences. Use your own discretion.
According to Gameday, Rich threw nothing but fastballs and curves - no sliders, no change-ups.
Even with a generous strike zone, Rich couldn't find it. The last pitch was a fastball in the dirt, and I had to adjust the chart below to show it.
Look at those fastballs, all over the place. Scary scary stuff. I can't take it anymore, moving on to something else for today's game.