Hope you all had a very merry Christmas Day, and for those poor unfortunates who have to go back to work today - paging Mrs. SnakePit - our thoughts are with you in this difficult time... as we sprawl on the couch with an industrial-sized bag of Ferrero Rocher. While you were away, DbacKid broke Aricat’s stranglehold on the days of Christmas, providing us with the only Sedona Red comment, meaning that “Three Miller Wins” becomes the third stanza in our D-backs themed reworking.
Shelby Miller certainly had a 2016 to forget. The year included a stint on the disabled list after dragging his knuckles on the mound in his follow through, and then a flat-out option to the minors in July and August, in an effort to get his mechanics and psyche back on track again. How bad a year was it? On May 27, the day he was placed on the DL, Miller’s record over his 34 starts in the previous calendar year was 2-22. I’m not sure a pitcher has ever had a W% of .083 over any 12-month period where they made every scheduled start. After going 25-19 in his rookie and sophomore seasons, Miller’s record over the last two years is a combined 9-29. Only Chris Archer (32) has lost more games since the start of 2015.
But let’s accentuate the positive, and review the three times Miller was victorious for Arizona in 2016.
- May 7, @ Braves. The buzzards were circling this narrative, after Miller returned to his old team winless over his first six starts, with an 8.49 ERA. But even he managed to shut down the woeful Atlanta offense, holding them to four hits and two runs over six innings [Ender Inciarte: 0-for-3]. The game was tied going into the sixth, but an RBI double from Brandon Drury gave Arizona the lead, and the bullpen pitched three no-hit innings to lock down’s Shelby’s first victory as a Diamondback.
- June 20, @ Phillies. Miller beat former AZ man, Jeremy Hellickson, recording his first outs after the sixth inning on the way. He went 6.2 innings, with just one run allowed, on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts. The offense did just enough to secure him the win, Arizona coming out ahead of Philadelphia by a 3-1 margin. Have to say, Miller didn’t exactly get blessed by the Run Support gods this year, the offense scoring him three runs or fewer in 13 of his 20 starts for us.
- Sep 28, @ Nationals. Maybe we just need to keep Miller out of Chase. He made 10 starts on the road and at home, but away from Phoenix, he was 3-4 with a 4.81 ERA, while at Chase he went 0-8 with a 7.39 ERA. Here, he picked up the complete-game shutout - albeit in a rain-shortened “five and dive” outing, where he gave up five hits and a walk, with five K’s, for the shortest CGSO in franchise history. He did finish the season unscored upon over his last 40 outs, so here’s to more of that in 2017.
And now, on to the fourth stanza.
On the fourth day of Xmas, Ken Kendrick gave to me...
- ____________________________________________ [four calling birds]
- Three Miller wins
- Two Cuban projects
- And a catcher you can have for free!
As usual, throw your suggestions into the comments and/or rec the ideas you feel most deserving of praise. The winner will be announced tomorrow.