LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill wants to set the record straight.The veteran left-hander was pulled in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday after telling Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to "keep an eye on me," and the general reading of Roberts' account was that Hill
LOS ANGELES -- Rich Hill wants to set the record straight.
The veteran left-hander was pulled in the seventh inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday after telling Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to "keep an eye on me," and the general reading of Roberts' account was that Hill had run out of gas.
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Roberts himself even said Hill "left everything out there," but Hill said his words are being misinterpreted.
"We need to change the narrative of this where it's being insinuated that I wanted to come out of the game," Hill told reporters before Sunday's Game 5.
Hill confirmed he did tell Roberts to "keep an eye on me," but not because he wanted out of the game. He simply wanted to make it known that if his effectiveness waned and Roberts had a better option available in the bullpen, because of the heightened stakes in the World Series, he wouldn't protest the move.
"Understand that when I said, 'Keep an eye on me,' I never said 'tired' [or] 'I wanted to come out of the game,'" Hill said. "I never want to come out of the game. So in times [like that], you're thinking about the 25 guys and understanding that if things get haywire out there, and saying, 'Hey, if there's a better option coming out of the bullpen, I'm going to be on board with that because of the gravity of the situation.'
"You guys [reporters] know me, that I've never wanted to come out of a game. And understand that to have an act of selflessness in this moment is what it's all about. At the end of the day, ultimately the move was made, and it just didn't fall in our favor."
When Hill was removed on Saturday, he was dealing. The veteran left-hander didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning, and he was pulled at 91 pitches with a runner on first base and a 4-0 lead. Los Angeles' bullpen proceeded to unravel, surrendering a pair of home runs hit against Ryan Madson and Kenley Jansen in the seventh and eighth and yielding a five-run ninth that put the game out of reach.
The decision proved to be a turning point that may have made the difference between a series even at 2 and the Dodgers facing elimination from the Fall Classic for a second consecutive year.
Roberts stood by his comments and decision when addressing reporters on Sunday.
"The conversation that we had was pretty clear to me," Roberts said. "These are things that I've never had in a start of his, so I don't want to go debate. I made a decision with the information I had, and that's kind of it."
Hill said he had a "good" conversation with Roberts on Sunday morning, and that he took no issue with his manager's words because Roberts never explicitly said Hill was tired or asked to be relieved. His concern was more with how the postgame comments were received.
"I think what is happening is that this is being misinterpreted on how all of this went on," Hill said. "Each and every one of you [reporters] that have covered me over the last three years know that I've never wanted to come out of a game before.
"What I meant by ['keep an eye on me'] is if there's a better option, 'OK, I'm not going to disagree or fight you over that.' That's it. It's not, 'I want to come out of the game,' it's not that I'm tired, none of that. It's just if there was a better option, and you know what? Maybe I should have phrased it that way at the time."
Roberts resting Madson in Game 5
Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson was unavailable for Game 5 because of recent usage, Roberts said before Sunday's game against the Red Sox.
Madson allowed a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland in the seventh inning of L.A.'s 9-6 Game 4 loss on Saturday.
Roberts said Hyun-Jin Ryu was available for long relief in Games 4 and 5, even though the Dodgers have tried not to use Ryu out of the bullpen since he returned from shoulder surgery in 2016.
Pedro Baez and Julio Urias were unavailable for Game 4, but they are available for Game 5, Roberts said.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.