LOS ANGELES – Rich Hill is not very happy with himself these days.
“It’s just natural. It’s ‘Oh, I stink’ and you just want to crawl into a cave,” said the Dodgers left-hander, who will take his 5.14 ERA and 1.57 WHIP to the mound against the New York Mets on Wednesday looking to turn around a season that has yet to live up to expectations.
Hill said he is “absolutely trying not to be frustrated” and the team’s success makes it easier. Still, he can’t help but feel he has yet to do his part for that success.
“It’s awesome to see the team doing well,” he said. “We’ve gone 10-1. But I look at that and see that one loss and think, ‘That was me’ (laughs). … You don’t want to walk around with such a poopy diaper all the time. Be optimistic. I’ve caught myself a couple times this year.”
When Hill needs a refresher for that optimism, he can pull a piece of paper out of his locker which shows his player profile from 2016 when he was “one of the best in the game” at inducing swings and misses as well as getting called strikes. That deception has been missing this season, replaced instead with inconsistent command that has resulted in 23 walks and four hit batters in only 35 innings.
“So I look at that and go, yeah, I know it’s there. It’s not an unrealistic expectation,” Hill said.
“I’ve felt that at times over these past two months. It’s just the mystery of getting that to be repeatable again and again and again.”
Hill said he believes he has ironed out some of the mechanical inconsistencies in his delivery that have led to his command issues. Hill said he has been watching a lot of video from last season, trying to restore the “subconscious muscle memory” that will allow him to repeat his delivery and restore the three-part chain in which he believes – routine, success, confidence.
“You look at those three things and they all kind of go hand in hand,” Hill said. “You have a routine that you…