Bobby Miller gave the Dodgers pitching staff a shot in the arm with five strong innings in his major league debut, striking out five in LA’s second straight win in Atlanta.
Amid a stretch into its second week of Dodgers starting pitchers not going deep, Miller was just the third starter on the team to last five innings in the last nine games. That earned him at least one more start while filling in for Julio Urías, and also got Miller a postgame “shower” from his teammates.
Miller for his efforts earned the win, the first Dodgers starting pitcher to do so in his major league debut since José De León in 2016.
Since moving to Los Angeles, only 13 Dodgers starting pitchers have won their major league debuts, out of 47 who started in their first game during that time.
Let’s look back at the other dozen first-game winners before Miller.
De León allowed the Padres two runs in each of the third and fifth innings, but the Dodgers offense answered in the bottom of both frames, and he left with a lead. De León struck out the side in the sixth to finish his outing, giving him nine strikeouts without a walk, the former the third-most strikeouts in an LA Dodgers debut.
In his first game in the majors after pitching eight years in Japan, Maeda allowed only five hits in six scoreless innings with no walks and four strikeouts against the Padres in San Diego. He also homered in his second at-bat, the first Dodgers pitcher to homer in his major league debut since Dan Bankhead 71 years earlier.
Eovaldi was the first Dodgers player born in the 1990s, and struck out seven in five innings in his debut against the D-backs in Phoenix. He allowed two runs in the second inning, but helped himself with a single and run scored in the third. Eovaldi left a 2-2 tie, but was still the pitcher of record when the Dodgers rallied for a pair of runs in the sixth inning.
After 11 years pitching for Hiroshima in Japan, the 33-year-old Korda went seven strong innings to beat the Padres at Petco Park, the only Dodgers debut in the last 30 years to pitch that long.
An incredibly memorable debut for Jackson on his 20th birthday, out-dueling Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, who was one day shy of his 40th birthday. Jackson allowed only one run in six innings in Arizona.
Signed to a four-year contract with the Dodgers after pitching 10 years in Japan, the 28-year-old Ishii struck out 10 Rockies in 5⅔ innings in a 9-3 win over the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, matching the most strikeouts in an LA Dodgers starting pitcher debut. Ishii won his first six starts with the Dodgers.
As a 20-year-old Mexican left-hander on the stout side, Reyes was often compared to Fernando Valenzuela. Reyes allowed three runs in six innings while striking out four, and was backed by nine runs in a win over the Giants. Reyes’ start is more known for snapping the Dodgers’ MLB-record streak of 681 games started by a right-handed pitcher, the first southpaw starter for LA since Bobby Ojeda on September 24, 1992.
Astacio’s first two major league starts came in the second game of a doubleheader, during a stretch of four Dodgers doubleheaders in a six-day span, making up games that were postponed by Los Angeles riots in April. Against the Phillies, Astacio worked around three singles and four walks by striking out 10, the most in a Dodgers starting pitching debut since Danny McDevitt fanned 11 for Brooklyn in 1957. Astacio did not allow a run, pitching the fifth shutout by a Dodgers pitcher in his debut, including Brooklyn years.
With a 5-0 lead over the Braves entering the ninth, Hillegas was trying for his own shutout at Dodger Stadium. But he allowed a walk and two singles to bring in one run, and was pulled with two outs. Tim Crews allowed one inherited run but got the final out to earn Hillegas the win. Hillegas was traded in late August 1988 to the White Sox for left-hander Ricky Horton.
Five years before a memorable argument with Tommy Lasorda on the mound during the World Series, Rau was the left-handed Chad Billingsley of his day. In Rau’s debut, the Dodgers scored four runs in the second inning in St. Louis to give him some breathing room, and he allowed only one run to beat the Cardinals with a complete game.
Willhite was the first Los Angeles Dodgers debuting pitcher to throw a shutout, and like Astacio pitched his first game in the second game of a doubleheader. The left-hander allowed only five hits and a walk to the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. It was a close game the whole way, with Wally Moon scoring the only two runs scored by the Dodgers.
In the first game of the final series of the season, Golden allowed three runs to the Cubs in the top of the first inning of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Dodgers chipped away with single runs to eventually take the lead in the sixth, only to see Golden allow two more runs in the seventh. In the bottom of the inning, Willie Davis and Norm Larker drove in runs to regain the lead, and Don Drysdale pitched the final two innings to close out the win.
LA Dodgers starting pitchers to win major league debut
|Jim Golden||Sep 30, 1960||Cubs||7||6||5/5||4||4|
|Nick Willhite||Jun 16, 1963||Cubs||9||5||0/0||1||6|
|Doug Rau||Sep 2, 1972||at Cardinals||9||3||1/1||2||2|
|Shawn Hillegas||Aug 9, 1987||Braves||8⅔||7||2/2||3||6|
|Pedro Astacio||Jul 3, 1992||Phillies||9||3||0/0||4||10|
|Dennys Reyes||Jul 13, 1997||Giants||6||4||3/3||4||6|
|Kazuhisa Ishii||Apr 6, 2002||Rockies||5⅔||2||0/0||3||10|
|Edwin Jackson||Sep 9, 2003||at D-backs||6||4||1/1||0||4|
|Hiroki Kuroda||Apr 4, 2008||at Padres||7||3||1/1||0||4|
|Nathan Eovaldi||Aug 6, 2011||at D-backs||5||4||2/2||2||7|
|Kenta Maeda||Apr 6, 2016||at Padres||6||5||0/0||0||4|
|José De León||Sep 4, 2016||Padres||6||5||4/3||0||9|
|Bobby Miller||May 23, 2023||at Braves||5||4||1/1||1||5|