The Los Angeles Dodgers took the second game of a doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies in blowout fashion, and Bobby Miller pitched seven innings of two-run ball with a career-high nine strikeouts.
Any pitcher facing the Rockies on the road feels dread, as the high altitude at Coors Field has a decades-long reputation for removing movement from offspeed pitches and straightening out high-run fastballs. This to say nothing of the way the ball travels further and faster off the bat at 5,200 feet.
Coors Field’s reputation did nothing to sway Miller’s confidence, however, as he expressed that he made some minor adjustments but still had an attack mindset, via SportsNet LA:
“I used the two-seamer a lot more. I know it’s a little mental block sometimes when you come and pitch here in the altitude, but you can’t let that get to you. Will did a great job of helping me navigate through and it was a lot more comfortable after the second inning. We had a big second inning, like five or six runs, something like that. Kind of just got to be in attack mode after getting a big lead like that. Just stay in attack mode, stay in the zone and try not to walk anyone.”
Miller’s aforementioned two-seam fastball resulted in 11 ground balls, the most he has induced in the month of September. Miller’s approach has been locked in for most of his rookie season, however, and he credited that focus for not allowing himself to be intimidated by Coors Field:
“I didn’t really try to change how I pitched. I’m always going to try to go out there and be myself when I’m out there. But it’s just extra important when you come to a place like this with execution. If I execute my pitches, I like to believe I’ll be good every time.”
Miller was certainly aggressive in zone. Of his 91 pitches, he threw 66 for strikes, a 72% ratio. Perhaps most notably, Miller didn’t issue a walk, a feat he had not done since the end of July. In the three starts this season where Miller has allowed no walks, he has logged at least six strikeouts.
Bobby Miller streaking into the postseason
Other than a start on September 9 where he allowed five earned runs against the Washington Nationals, Miller has allowed fewer than three runs in every outing this month.
He has notched 36 strikeouts in 32.2 innings during September, raising his strikeout rate dramatically. The biggest question mark surrounding Miller early on in the season was his low strikeout rate, but he appears to have adjusted and answered that question.
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