Bobby Miller: ‘Everything Was Kind Of Working Well’ To Set Career High In Strikeouts

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Bobby Miller turned in the best start of his young career on Friday as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3.

Miller pitched six shutout innings while only giving up two hits. For the first 3.2 innings of the game, he was perfect until Nolan Gorman singled.

“I think everything was kind of working well for me,” Miller said. “Commanding that fastball down was something I emphasized a lot. I was really trying to command that fastball down. At a high velocity, I think it’s a good pitch if you can command it down and away, and command it up. Honestly, every single pitch felt good for me tonight.”

Miller struck out 11 hitters, which set a new career high, surpassing his total of nine set during his rookie year. Miller attributed his swing and miss numbers to better sequencing and an improvement in his slider.

“Last year the slider was a big problem for me,” Miller said. “It was moving all sorts of ways and I wasn’t consistent with it. The command with that pitch has gotten a lot better this year, the shape has been a lot more consistent and it’s been tunneling better with my fastball.

“That’s been a huge step forward for me this year, and obviously confidence out there just keeps building.”

While the slider has taken a stop forward, Miller’s changeup was his best secondary pitch as it led the way with a 33% whiff rate on nine pitches.

“It took me a while to realize that was my best pitch,” Miller said. “Coming up in the Minor Leagues, I thought it was my slider, but turns out it was the changeup. It’s a really good weapon for me to use when guys are trying to be on time for a heater.

“I know I can sell it well, just like my fastball. So when guys are looking for a heater or whatever, that’s when I can use it.”

Miller had a strong rookie season, but he looks poised to take the next step forward. After showing what he’s capable of to begin his 2024 season, Miller credited his performance to execution and confidence.

All that came together in the sixth inning when Miller ran into his first sign of trouble.

A walk and a single put two on base as his night was coming to an end, but he used his fastball to record his final strikeout and end the inning.

After escaping the jam, Miller showed all his emotion with a yell of excitement. “That was awesome,” he said.

“I haven’t felt anything like that before. That definitely gives me a lot of confidence out there to hear the fans roaring like that. That was really awesome.

“It gave me a lot of confidence. I was pretty fired up after, because the previous two batters, my command was starting to get a little worse. So that felt really good.”

Dave Roberts happy with growth from Bobby Miller

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was also impressed by what he saw from the 24-year-old.

“It was a really good night,” Roberts said. “It started with Bobby retiring the first [11] hitters. He was just on tonight. He was on the attack, obviously the fastball played.

“Aggressive team, but being able to strike the curveball when needed and the changeup was always in play. Kept them off balance and just a really efficient, good outing. You saw some stress there in that sixth inning, that was his last hitter he was going to face and he got a big strikeout. Eleven strikeouts, what a night from Bobby.”

Like Miller, Roberts credited the uptick in strikeouts to improved sequencing and better command of his pitches, namely the fastball, which has been the biggest growth for the potential ace.

“You look a calendar year ago, he wasn’t able to command the fastball,” Roberts said. “One hundred is still 100, but if it’s over the middle of the plate, these guys can hit it.

“Now the command is there and he’s more polished. When he needs to throw a strike with his fastball he can still command it, which is huge.”

The Dodgers expect Miller to be a big part of their plans this season, and if he continues to show what he did on Friday, the sky is the limit for his impact.

“He’s a big piece to the puzzle,” Roberts said. “I think one part is he’s a top-end guy, and he’s proving that now.

“To go out there, we expect to win when he’s out there. And also he’s a big body, physical pitcher, to be able to know you’re going to get five, six, seven innings out of him every time he takes the mound. That’s something that’s big not only for that start day but the days ensuing. You need that length and those horses to get you through the season.”

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