Miley twirled a gem Sunday as the Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Angels 6-1 at Fenway Park. It’ll obviously be a while before Boston knows whether it made the correct move in trading pitching prospects Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster to the Arizona Diamondbacks over the offseason in exchange for the left-hander, but Miley suddenly looks as advertised after some early-season stinkers.
“It comes down to fastball command. Even when he’s gotten a couple of guys on base, he hasn’t overthrown, as we saw maybe back in April,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Miley’s recent success. “He’s turned things around personally this month. That’s pretty clear. But he’s back to a quick pace, but a comfortable one for him. And he’s commanding his pitches.”
Miley spun eight fantastic innings in the Red Sox’s series finale against the Halos. He allowed only one run on four hits and one walk while striking out two. The lefty retired the first 14 hitters he faced before issuing a walk and surrendering a single with two outs in the fifth inning, and his only real hiccup came in the sixth inning, when Mike Trout doubled home Erick Aybar for the Angels’ lone run.
Quick, efficient, effective. All describe Miley’s performance against Los Angeles. But the most encouraging aspect of his eight-inning effort is that it piggybacked on other solid starts, adding stability to the Red Sox’s rotation and silencing concerns (at least temporarily) over whether the 28-year-old is capable of pitching in the American League East.
“It is what it is. The beginning of the season is over, it’s behind me,” Miley said. “You just have to look in the future. Can’t do anything about the past. Correct some things and move on.”
Miley’s ERA sat at 8.62 when the calendar flipped to May. He lasted fewer than three innings in two of his first four starts and didn’t make it beyond the sixth inning in any of them. This month has been an entirely different story, though, as Miley has tossed at least six innings in each of his five May starts while lowering his season ERA to 4.47. He’s 3-0 with a 1.25 ERA over his last three outings.
“It’s nice. You’re constantly just ready to go. You’re not really walking around, you’re getting into a good position to where you can field ground balls,” first baseman Mike Napoli said of playing behind a quick worker like Miley. “When you have a pace like that, it’s fun to play behind him.”
One month in a baseball season doesn’t mean much. Heck, it took John Lackey four years to begin justifying the contract he landed from the Red Sox. But there was a point in the opening month when it looked like Miley was on the fast track out of Boston’s rotation, and that’s no longer the case.
Now, Miley is providing quality innings, keeping games under control and giving the Red Sox a chance to win. Just what Boston expected upon prying him away from the desert.
Thumbnail photo via Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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