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    Dodgers’ Bobby Miller has worst start of career in loss to Phillies
    • July 10, 2024

    PHILADELPHIA — The Dodgers have a problem and it’s only getting worse.

    On the same day they put Tyler Glasnow on the injured list for a midseason break, they watched Bobby Miller struggle through the worst start of his young career. Miller allowed a career-high nine runs on 10 hits in four innings Tuesday night as the Philadelphia Phillies bludgeoned their way to a 10-1 victory over the Dodgers.

    “Tonight was embarrassing,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

    “We still have a chance to win the series. That’s kind of where my head is, trying to flush this one and focus on tomorrow.”

    It would help if they got a good start – something that has disappeared from their game recently.

    With Miller’s debacle, Dodgers starters have allowed 45 runs in 44 innings over their past 10 games. The group is fooling no one – they have given up 51 hits, including 12 home runs, in that time.

    Playing from behind on a nightly basis, the Dodgers have lost six of those 10 games and did not look to be on the same plane as the Phillies who have the best record in baseball.

    The poor starting pitching has also overextended the Dodgers’ bullpen and they wound up sending Kiké Hernandez to the mound against the Phillies – in the seventh inning.

    “I know that winning baseball games, sustaining winning, stems and starts with starting pitching. That’s a fact,” Roberts said. “Clearly we haven’t got the consistency out of that.”

    Tuesday’s pounding was the latest low point for Miller, who has not looked right since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for two months earlier this year. He didn’t pitch well on his minor-league injury rehabilitation assignment and now has a 9.87 ERA in four starts since rejoining the Dodgers’ rotation.

    “I’m shocked. I’m a little shell-shocked right now, given what he’s done, expecting him to continue to take steps forward and to see where we’re at,” Roberts said of Miller.

    After going 11-4 with a 3.76 ERA in 22 starts last season, Miller was expected to be a reliable member of the rotation this season. That hasn’t happened.

    “It’s been tough. It really has,” Miller said. “But I’m going to use that as motivation in my next outing whenever that is. And yeah, just use this failure as motivation going into my next outing.”

    The hard-throwing Miller has just nine strikeouts in 17⅓ innings since returning. His fastball velocity is down and has been all season. Batters are hitting .338 (24 for 71) against this version of Miller with five home runs. It’s all an indication that his shoulder might be back at full strength (he insists it is) but his stuff is not.

    “Execution and getting ahead on everybody, just being in attack mode – that’s when I’m at my best when I’m on attack mode, get ahead of guys and put them away instead of going 0-2 and working to 3-2 a lot,” Miller said.

    “Velocity is a little down, too. Stuff just doesn’t have enough bite to it right now and not putting guys away fast when I get deep into the count. A lot of 3-2 counts, a lot of walks, just everything all put together. I’m going to get back to where I need to be. I know that for sure.”

    Miller couldn’t offer an explanation for why his velocity is down and his stuff doesn’t have as much “bite.”

    “I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “I’m trying everything I can. Shoulder is strong right now so it’s probably just mechanics. It’s a little bit of everything. I’m still trying to figure that out.”

    Roberts said the Dodgers are confident that Miller’s struggles are not an indication his shoulder has not healed.

    “We’ve done all the stuff as far as on the testing, talking to Bobby as far as how he feels,” Roberts said. “Everything that we get lines up too. The strength’s there. He’s healthy. I think it might be more on the delivery side of it where we can tap into more velocity and commanding of the baseball. It could be. But like I said, we’ve done a lot of things and a lot of conversations that would argue that he is healthy.”

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    Miller’s troubles against the Phillies started with two outs in the second inning. Miller walked Brandon Marsh, who promptly stole second base and scored on a single by Rafael Marchan. Johan Rojas beat out an infield single and both moved up on a wild pitch by Miller. Kyle Schwarber drove them in with a single, doing Miller a favor by being thrown out at second base.

    Two innings later, the roof caved in on Miller.

    The first five Phillies batters reached base, including three consecutive hits by the final three batters in the Phillies’ order. That trio (Marsh, Marchan and Rojas) went 5 for 5 with a walk, a double, two RBIs and six runs scored in Miller’s four innings.

    Trea Turner hit a grand slam and Bryson Stott a solo home run for a six-run inning before Miller could escape to the air-conditioned, cheesesteak-scented safety of the Dodgers’ clubhouse.

    He soon had plenty of company. Roberts began pulling his regulars from the game in the fifth inning.

    Phillies starter Zack Wheeler left after five innings with lower back tightness. But all the Dodgers could muster was a solo home run by Cavan Biggio in the fifth inning.

    ​ Orange County Register 

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