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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #133: Miller time

Shelby Miller makes his return to the majors this afternoon in San Francisco

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Shelby Miller
RHP, 2-9, 7.14
Matt Moore
LHP, 8-10, 3.95
Jean Segura - 2B Angel Pagan - LF
A.J. Pollock - CF Joe Panik - 2B
Paul Goldschmidt - 1B Buster Posey - C
Welington Castillo - C Brandon Crawford - SS
Rickie Weeks - LF Hunter Pence - RF
Yasmany Tomas - RF Brandon Belt - 1B
Brandon Drury - 3B Eduardo Nunez - 3B
Chris Owings - SS Gorkys Hernandez - CF
Shelby Miller - RHP Matt Moore - LHP

Shelby Miller's start this afternoon may prove to be more important for more than just Shelby Miller. I note that it's the final day of the month, which has a symbolic significance, in that it's the last day the team has to exercise 2017 options on GM Dave Stewart and senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson. Currently, it looks like the team will be tabling any decision on the pair until the end of the season, and you wonder if Miller's performance down the stretch will be a factor. If he remains the same bust he was over his first two stints in the majors, it could end up being the final nail in Stewart's coffin.

On the other hand, if Miller has indeed turned the ship around, you could argue a case that 2017 could become the year 2016 was supposed to be. An effective Miller, and one for whom in contract purposes, this season didn't "count", a healthy A.J. Pollock, etc. and the landscape would have looked rather different. Would that pair, in itself, have been enough? Probably not. Averaging out fWAR and bWAR, the absence of A.J. probably cost the team about six wins; the struggles of Miller around four. Adding 10 wins to the currently projected finish (69-93) would still leave this team short of .500, at 79 wins. But it'd be a much better case for another chance.

It depends entirely on Miller being "fixed", and that's by no means certain. Assuming he works every fifth game, he'll get six starts by the end of the year. He needs to prove the trade which will likely come to define the Dave Stewart era is not the bust it currently appears to be. We've recently seen Dansby Swanson make it to the majors, and although the numbers have been nothing special (an OPS+ of 84), he's still been more valuable than Miller. This will need to turn around.if Stewart is to save his job, and that begins this afternoon in AT&T Park. Of course, if you want Stewart to be fired, perhaps you will quietly be rooting for Miller to fail? #NoFalseDawns