Sox Win Again, Miller Makes Debut
Andrew Miller made his long awaited debut last night. Sure, no one outside of me and Robo cared, but it was long awaited by us. Naturally, the Red Sox won, because, well, that’s just what they do. Unfortunately, Miller wasn’t able to benefit from the 10 run seventh inning as he was pulled in the sixth after allowing three runs and the wheels started coming off a bit. On a night where the offense was once again the story, there was a lot to like from the 26 year old south paw. Here is what I saw.
What I liked…
– His pedigree – The kid just looks like a pitcher. Miller, a lefty, stand in at 6’7″ and is 210 pounds soaking wet. He looks like he should be able to throw about 150 out there. Miller hits 99 on the gun and has a devastating curve/slider. When he was drafted 6th overall in 2006, Miller was the best college pitcher and it wasn’t even close. He once pitched an entire game without letting a ball leave the infield. There was never a question about his stuff, it was learning how to pitch and harnessing it. He flashed some of that potential tonight, and it was certainly something to build on.
– His changeup – This was a pitch that Miller didn’t throw until this spring. I thought it would be more of an element of surprise type of thing, but he actually went to it a lot, and it was good. If he can continue to build that pitch, he will dramatically increase his odds of success in the big leagues.
– His pace – It seemed like before Miller even got the ball back he was on the mound and ready to throw his next pitch. I don’t really know what this says about a pitcher, maybe it’s a sign of confidence, maybe it’s a sign that he isn’t thinking about anything at all, who knows, I just know that usually when you’re up there and just firing bullets, you tend to have more success than the guys who stand there on the mound for a year in between pitches and over analyze every single situation that comes up.
What I didn’t like…
– The walks – One of the big raps on Miller has always been his control issues. He walks to many people, and ultimately just can’t get out of that trouble. But last night he really didn’t struggle throwing strikes. His strike rate was well over 60%, just for whatever reason when he did walk those three batters he didn’t look the same out there. I don’t know if it was a lack of focus or what, but you are going to run into trouble more often than not when you walk three batters in less than six innings.
– That one pitch – Really, if it wasn’t for the one pitch that he left out over the plate Miller would have gone six strong innings and gotten the win. People in the organization aren’t going to poo poo the outing because of one mistake and send him back to the minors, but I really could have used that W on my fantasy team.
– Can we get Youk on the bench, please? – Two games in a row now I have watched Kevin Youkilis come up lame while running the bases. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, and based on the broadcast neither does anyone else, but can we please get this guy a day off or two. We are winning games by 30 runs, we are in first place, lets pump the brakes a little and get guys healthy if need be. The Sox did the right thing by putting Buchholz on the DL, now they need to do right by Youkilis and get his ankle, or whatever it is that is bothering him cleared up. He is never going to take himself out of the lineup, so Tito needs to step up here and sit him out for a game or too. If we lose Youk we are in some serious trouble.
– I bet no one saw this coming from Mike Cameron – Mike Cameron has sneakily been one of the biggest disappointments in the Theo Epstein era. No one really cared about him when the Sox signed him, but given the fact that he is making $8 million a year, the Red Sox certainly had high hopes for him. He gutted it out last season, playing through a torn abdomen for most of his games, but he only batted .259 with 4 home runs in 162 at bats. This year, he is down to .153 with 3 home runs in 85 at bats and is almost an afterthought. I guess $16 million doesn’t get you what it used to.
– I’m back on the Josh Reddick bandwagon – I was off it last year when he got one hit all season long, but I’m back on. I’ll take Reddick in right field any day of the week over JD Drew. At least with Reddick you can see the potential. This year Reddick has shown me that he does indeed know what the strike zone is and that it is OK for him to hit the ball to left. He still occasionally swings at a pitch or two that bounces in front of the plate, but what can you do. I’m sorry Josh. Can you ever forgive me?
– Kudos to Sox fans and Fenway Park – I honestly can’t believe the pink hats at Fenway knew enough to give applause to Anthony Rizzo when he stepped to the plate. It wasn’t an overwhelming ovation, but there were obvious cheers. It’s impressive because Rizzo never got close to playing in a Sox uniform, and considering most at Fenway these days couldn’t name you three players in the Sox bullpen, I was surprised enough knew about Rizzo to care.