Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Bobby Miller has been a pleasant surprise for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season after it was expected he would spend most of the year in Triple-A Oklahoma City to continue developing.
However, due to various injuries and struggles in the Dodgers’ rotation, Miller was forced to make his MLB debut sooner than the team anticipated. The 24-year-old has overall handled it well, throwing 87.2 innings with a 4.00 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 79 strikeouts.
He has also thrown at least six innings in four consecutive starts, providing the team with length that otherwise has only consistently come from Lance Lynn since he was acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox.
That has not been without some concern, however.
Combined between the Majors and Minor League levels, Miller has now thrown 101.3 innings this season. He is just one year removed from setting a career high of 112.1 innings pitched between Triple-A and Double-A in 2022.
While in college at Louisville, Miller never threw more than 80 innings during a single season, and his first year of professional baseball in 2021 saw him throw just 56.1.
Although Miller is likely going to set a new career high for innings pitched, he and the Dodgers are comfortable with the workload. “I feel good about it,” Miller said.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is also confident the club has handled the rookie well enough that limiting his innings won’t be necessary as they get into October, and possibly November if everything goes according to plan.
“Now, where we’re at, I would argue this is the most in shape he’s been,” Roberts noted. “I think he’s understanding what the workload looks like, what it takes to prepare every fifth day.
“With where we’re at, we’re getting ready for the postseason. So I think just manage him accordingly. I think we’ve built up enough innings on the backend that we can use him any way we see fit all the way through October.”
The quality of Miller’s pitches also suggest fatigue is not affecting him to this point.
In August, Miller’s spin rates have trended up on all his pitches to their highest points of the season.
He has also maintained his velocity on all his pitches. Miller’s fastball’s average velocity in August is the same it was in May at 99.4 mph.
Still, it would not be surprising to see the Dodgers give Miller a short break in September, or even just shortening some of his outings merely to be cautious.
Bobby Miller unhappy with outing against Diamondbacks
In Miller’s most recent start on Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings.
It was enough to earn the win, but not one of his better performances either.
“I’m not too happy about the outing,” Miller said. “It was probably the worst my stuff has been all year, but glad to fight through it, get a couple zeros after that fourth and get through six to not have the bullpen take over for a lot of the game.
“Like I always say, I want to keep them fresh. That’s really important for me and the bullpen. I want to get through at least six every time to give them some rest.”
Miller added his slider was bad and he struggled to command the fastball, but his changeup was effective and helped him manage the game.
“I just kind of kicked it into second gear and leaned on some other stuff,” Miller said. “I leaned on the changeup a little bit because my other stuff wasn’t really there. Some days I’m not going to have my best stuff or feeling the best, but I’ve got to find a way to get through it.”
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