Over the course of a 162-game season, everything has a way of evening itself out.
Andrew Miller entered Tuesday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Twins as one of the Boston Red Sox’s steadiest bullpen options, boasting a 1.69 ERA and holding opponents scoreless in 16 of his first 18 outings. Especially impressive were his stats against left-handed batters: 22 at-bats, two hits, 11 strikeouts.
The Red Sox had rallied from four runs down to tie the game thanks in part to a two-home run, four-RBI night from David Ortiz, and Miller appeared well on his way to forcing extras when he mowed down Minnesota’s Trevor Plouffe and Chris Colabello to open the ninth. But then, he stumbled.
Kurt Suzuki knocked a two-out, ground-ball single into left field to put the winning run on first. Right fielder Chris Parmelee, a left-handed hitter who was making just his fourth start of the season, then whiffed on Miller’s first offering before cranking his second pitch — a 96-mph fastball — into the right field seats to give the Twins an 8-6 walk-off win.
It was the first loss of the season for the tall, bearded southpaw, and he did not deflect blame when speaking with reporters after the game.
“It was hard and down in the zone but still where he could hit it,” Miller said, via The Boston Globe. “Can’t afford to do that right there. I feel terrible. I let 24 guys down. One bad pitch. But move on. (Wednesday), I’ll be out there again.”
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was setting up for pitch on the outside corner with the 0-1 count, but Miller mislocated, with his fastball instead coming in inside and knee-high. Pierzynski didn’t believe the pitch itself was anything disastrous, though.
“It wasn’t exactly where we wanted it,” he said. “But not a bad pitch.”
Red Sox starter Jake Peavy struggled in the contest, allowing six runs on nine hits, and was yanked with one out in the fifth. The Boston bullpen was lights-out in the middle innings, though, with Chris Capuano, Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa combining to pitch 3 2/3 scoreless frames before handing the ball to Miller to start the ninth.