A common theme for Bobby Miller in his starts thus far has been struggling in the fifth inning, but things quickly got out of hand in the series opener between the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Elly De La Cruz opened the game with a single and scored when TJ Friedl grounded out. From there, Matt Mclain doubled and Jake Fraley homered, giving the Reds a 3-0 lead before fans were even settled into their seats.
Jonathan India then doubled to complete the first-inning combined cycle for the Reds before Miller retired the next two batters to get out of the frame.
“Rough first inning,” Miller said after the Dodgers’ 6-5 loss. “A couple of bad two-strike pitches, that’s all really. Felt I could have leaned on the fastball maybe a little bit more in the first inning. Probably would have got me out of the inning a little quicker.
“But I mean, if I execute those pitches, I think the inning goes way different and the outing is a lot different, I go further in the game. But other than that, I mean, I know it’s three runs, but there’s a lot of baseball left, so you got to forget about that kind of stuff and just move on and take control of the game.”
Although it looked like Miller wouldn’t last long for the game, he settled down in the second and went on to pitch four consecutive scoreless innings.
“Yeah, just got to forget about that kind of stuff,” Miller said of the early struggles. “You can’t go back and change it. So the best you can do is just forget about that and move on to the next, that’s the best thing you can do.”
Miller finished his night going five innings, giving up the three runs on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks. The Dodgers rallied back to score five runs, but Yency Almote gave up three runs in 0.1 innings that proved to be the difference in the loss
Bobby Miller ‘confident’ in curveball
Of Miller’s 100 pitchers, the right-hander used his curveball 34 times, more than any other pitch he threw. Among those 34, Miller recorded 13 swings and nine whiffs (69%) while also adding five called strikes with it, giving him an elite 41% called strike plus whiff rate.
“I’ve always felt really confident in that pitch,” Miller said. “Sometimes I use it to steal a strike or swing and miss, but today it was really my strikeout pitch. I felt like I could land it for a first strike when I needed to, bury it when I needed to in the dirt. Yeah, after that first thing, I felt completely in control of that game.”
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