Covering for the injured Clay Buchholz, one time top prospect Andrew Miller made his 2011 debut last night, going only 5.2 innings and allowing seven hits, but striking out six to three walks.
The good: Miller sat in the low 90′s with an average fastball of 93 MPH, touching 96 — his average fastball last season was 91 MPH. He also got five swinging strikes on 11 sliders. While his control/command wasn’t great — or even that good –, it also wasn’t toooo bad either. He walked three in 5.2 innings, but that seems like a decent step forward considering his 26 walks in 32.2 innings last season. Miller walked 4.8 per nine while at Pawtucket.
The bad: Yesterday’s performance, while positive, is no indication of future success. Miller was facing the Padres. The Padres, with a team .286 wOBA and a team triple slash of .239/.300/.334. Three runs in 5.2 innings to a bottom feeding National League offense is not exactly ideal. Miller allowed a three-run pee-rod home run to Orlando Hudson, which accounted for the three runs allowed. The Pads managed seven hits in Miller’s 5.2 innings, also not exactly good.
At least: Miller is scheduled to face the Pirates next, who sport a team .297 wOBA and a .238/.310/351 triple slash. They also have the second worse strikeout rate in baseball (in front of the Padres).
For the most part, Miller looks like the same same strikeout-potential/poor control pitcher he has been in the past with perhaps a little improvement in terms of control. Hopefully all goes well in Buchholz’s rehab and he’s back in the rotation soon. Miller may be a decent short-term fix against the right match-up, but expecting more may be misguided.