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It's time to pull the plug on Shelby Miller

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That's ten starts now - and they've been among the worst in Diamondbacks history.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Originally, there was a question in the above sentence, but the more I thought about it, the more I'm convinced it would be a rhetorical query. Someone once defined insanity as, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, and I think we're getting into that territory as far as Miller's membership of the rotation is concerned. For here are the ten highest ERAs through 47 games in Diamondbacks history, with a minimum of 40 innings pitched in that time.

Rk Player Year W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1 Casey Daigle 2004 2 2 7.31 9 44.1 58 37 36 7 25 16 1.87
2
Shelby Miller 2016 1 6
7.09
10
45.2 56
36 36 10
29 30
1.86
3
Elmer Dessens 2004 1 4 6.75 7 40.0 55 32 30 6 13 21 1.70
4
Steve Sparks 2004 2 4 6.71 8 51.0 56 39 38 6 22 23 1.53
5 Armando Reynoso 2000 2 4 6.64 8 40.2 46 31 30 7 17 19 1.55
6 Edwin Jackson 2010 3 5 6.28 10 61.2 70 43 43 10 20 53 1.46
7 Andy Benes 1999 3 5 6.17 10 58.1 68 45 40 13 35 35 1.77
8 Orlando Hernandez 2006 2 4 6.11 9 45.2 52 32 31 8 20 52 1.58
9 Armando Galarraga 2011 3 4 5.91 8 42.2 47 36 28 13 22 28 1.62
10 Jeff Suppan 1998 1 4 5.85 9 47.2 54 33 31 8 13 27 1.41

When your closest comp is Mr. Jenny Finch... It takes a special, almost supernatural level of suckage to make this list - absent, for example, is Russ Ortiz, whose ERA in 2005 was "only" 5.20 [he didn't pitch enough to qualify in 2006]. Miller is the only person to break the stranglehold of the 2004 rotation, who possess a lock on all other spots in the top four; however, that was during a much more offense-friendly time. Since then, the worst has been Edwin Jackson's 2010 campaign, but that was getting on for a run better than Miller, and E-Jax also averaged more than six innings per start, rather than the four and a half we've got from Shelby.

it's notable that the most recent entrant on the list, Galarraga, was pulled from the rotation - indeed, never pitched again for the team - after just eight starts, with an ERA 1.18 runs better than Miller's to this point. That 2011 team went on to win the division. You might remember Armando's epic meltdown when asked if his rotation spot might be in jeopardy - anyone noticed if Miller has been asked the same question? It would certainly seem to be a legitimate query at this point. If Robbie Ray, say, had an ERA above seven after ten outings, I'm fairly sure he wouldn't be in the rotation any longer. So is it all about Dave Stewart et al trying to save face?

Not that it's fooling anyone. I was asked on Twitter, "How do you make the playoffs conceding one game in every five?" and there's only one answer: you can't. I'd have to check if any team has ever made it to the post-season carrying a qualified pitcher (not that Miller quite is, courtesy of his short outings) with an ERA above seven. I suspect not - though I'm amused to see Jake Peavy sitting at 8.21 with SF! You could argue the very fact the team continues to roll Miller out there every fifth day, suggests they have now quietly decided this isn't their season. Every start for Miller strengthens the case the team are looking to 2017, with a (hopefully...) healthy A.J. Pollock back on the roster.

It's apparent the Atlanta outing - Miller's only quality start - was a false dawn, due entirely to the wretchedness of the offense he faced that day, and not any kind of "figuring it out" or "turning the corner". The three starts since have seen Miller post a 6.61 ERA and a K:BB ratio of 11:7. It's clear he's not the pitcher he was in 2015, and Shelby needs to go away until he gets his head and/or his mechanics straight. We have Archie Bradley posting a sub-two ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, and would seem to deserve another chance far more than Miller: Archie struggled, was sent down, and appears to have figured it out. Maybe Shelby can do the same?

Certainly there is absolutely no point to keeping him in the rotation. It's not helping the team, and it's abundantly apparent Mike Butcher is not capable of fixing the issue, whatever that might be. A change of location could help both Miller and the Diamondbacks, and it's not as if Bradley is likely to do significantly worse than Miller. While he remains on the roster, it's virtually impossible to take seriously any claims this team is trying to contend.