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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #32: Miller returns

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Shelby Miller goes back to whence he came, at least for one game. But will that help or hinder him?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Shelby Miller
RHP, 0-3, 8.49
Julio Teheran
RHP, 0-3, 3.72
Jean Segura - 2B Nick Markakis - RF
Jake Lamb - 3B Ender Inciarte - LF
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Freddie Freeman - 1B
David Peralta - RF A.J. Pierzynski - C
Welington Castillo - C Reid Brignac - 3B
Brandon Drury - LF Erick Aybar - SS
Chris Owings - CF Daniel Castro - 2B
Shelby Miller - RHP Julio Teheran - RHP
Nick Ahmed - SS Mallex Smith - CF

Both starters here are looking for their first win, having gone 0-3 in their outings so far. However, this is more evidence - as if any were needed - of the questionable stat for a pitcher which is W-L. For Teheran has three quality starts over his six outings, and an average Game Score of 55; Miller has no quality starts, and his best Game Score is 42. Teheran's last outing involved seven shutout innings against a very good Cubs offense, holding them to two hits but getting a no-decision. the Braves eventually winning that one, 4-3. That represents a season high in run-support, as over his previous five outings, where Atlanta scored him a total of 10 runs.

On that basis, starting Miller against the Braves makes sense, because their offense has been historically abysmal. Thus far, the wRC+ is just 56. The lowest mark in the live-ball era over a full season belongs to the 1920 Athletics, but they are more than ten points better than the Braves, at 67. Atlanta are batting .226, with a .582 OPS and a mere six home-runs. Coming into today, there are forty-one players who have hit six or more home-runs this season, including three in today's line-up for the Diamondbacks: Drury, Castillo and Goldschmidt. Also likely helpful, given Shelby's struggles: Atlanta rank 12th for walks.

It may also help that he has pitched well at Turner Field in the past, with a career ERA over 19 outings there of 2.52, compared to a career ERA of 3.43. Of course, thanks mostly to last season's epic streak of winless futility, his record in the park is a nondescript 4-10. Still, if he can't beat the Braves - and having watched them play last night, their current projected record of 41-121 seems entirely credible - then further starts should likely be filed away in the box marked "doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result."