Although Bobby Miller faced the Atlanta Braves on the road in his MLB debut, starting in the series finale between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers represented the biggest stage of his young career.
In addition to attention that comes with pitching against the Yankees, Miller’s third start was in front of a national audience for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
“I think it’s a big stage, all eyes will be on us, and I think that’s good. I know he can handle it, but there’s going to be some extra adrenaline,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said in the days leading up to the game.
“You’re seeing (Giancarlo) Stanton and (Aaron) Judge in the batter’s box. It’s going to bring out the best in Bobby.”
Miller didn’t end up seeing Aaron Judge due to a sore right toe as a result of making a remarkable catch while crashing into the Dodger Stadium fence where the visiting bullpen is.
Miller nevertheless was nothing short of impressive. He didn’t allow a hit until Anthony Volpe’s single with two outs in the fifth inning. Nothing came of it, however, as Miller retired Gleyber Torres to keep the game locked in a scoreless tie.
Miller wound up completing six scoreless innings while setting a career high with seven strikeouts.
“Wow,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone began when asked for his impression of the Dodgers’ top pitching prospect. “Yeah, he was firing today. He was obviously tough on us.
“That’s a big-time arm. I’ve heard about him now for a little while, and that arm came as advertised.”
Miller became the first Dodgers pitcher since at least 1901 to log at least six scoreless innings with just one hit allowed within the first three starts of his career.
Miller additionally joined Kenta Maeda (2016) as the only Dodgers pitchers to complete a minimum of five innings and allow one run or fewer through his first three career starts.
Bobby Miller using new slider
Part of Miller’s success against the Yankees stemmed from keeping hitters off balance with a sharp slider that he’s using a new grip on.
“Throwing it harder, making it a little bit tighter, getting rid of that big shape,” Miller explained of his new slider. “I think throwing it harder and keeping it to closer to my fastball gets me more swings.”
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