Bobby Miller continues to provide the salve to alleviate the Dodgers pitching wounds, providing six more scoreless innings on Saturday afternoon to beat the Phillies 9-0 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
At this point, finding flaws in the start to Miller’s major league career requires picking nits. Like each of his previous three outings, Miller had the one taxing inning on Saturday, and just like before was able to escape with minimal damage.
It took the right-hander 34 pitches to get through the second inning alone, with a Trea Turner single opening the frame, joined in scoring position by a one-out double by Bryson Stott. Miller struck out Brandon Marsh on a slider, but needed six pitches, then threw another six pitches in walking Kody Clemens to load the bases.
Miller needed nine pitches to get Edmundo Sosa, but get him he did, forcing a groundout to second base to keep the Phillies off the board.
Miller finished with six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts, extending his scoreless streak to 16 consecutive innings. The right-hander has only allowed two runs in 23 innings in his four major league starts. He’s lasted six innings in three starts in a row. Since his call-up to the majors on May 23, the rest of the Dodgers rotation has four starts of at least six innings (Clayton Kershaw twice, Tony Gonsolin, Noah Syndergaard).
Miller is just the fifth Dodgers pitcher to have multiple scoreless starts of at least six innings in his first four major league games. The last was Kenta Maeda, with three such starts in 2016.
Per the Dodgers, Miller is only the ninth MLB pitcher since 1901 to allow two or fewer runs over their first four starts with a minimum of 20 innings. Other Dodgers on that list are Fernando Valenzuela (1981) and Maeda.
His 104 pitches are a professional career high for Miller, who had starts of 103 pitches (for Double-A Tulsa) and 100 pitches (for Triple-A Oklahoma City) last September.
Miller was backed by a Dodgers offense that finally got to Aaron Nola with two outs in the third inning. After the Phillies right-hander retired the first eight batters of the game, James Outman doubled off the left field wall, followed by singles from Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, both easily scoring runs as the Dodgers felt very comfortable of testing the arm of Kyle Schwarber in left field.
David Peralta blasted a middle-middle fastball from Nola over the wall in right center to widen the Dodgers lead in the fourth, giving him at least one hit in each of his last 10 starts.
The Dodgers tacked on six more runs in the seventh, the first three off Nola and the next three off reliever Jeff Hoffman, culminating in a three-run shot by J.D. Martinez. Yunior Marte was called in to get the final out of the inning, with Phillies pitches throwing 52 pitches in the seventh alone.
Since returning from the injured list on May 12, Martinez has 12 home runs and 32 RBI in 26 games, hitting .295/.319/.714. Five of his 12 home runs are three-run shots.
That seventh inning opened up the game to the point that Andre Jackson, who was recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day, was thrust into the role he was born to play. Rather than soak up innings during Sunday’s bullpen game, Jackson soaked up the final nine outs on Saturday to keep the other eight relievers rested heading into the series finale.
The right-hander worked around three hits to pitch three scoreless innings, earning his second three-inning save of the season.
Jackson has pitched 14 major league games, and in four of them notched a three-inning save. That’s ninth-most in Dodgers history.
Kody Clemens, the Phillies’ first baseman, pitched the ninth inning, his third pitching appearance this season against the Dodgers alone. His father, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, also faced the Dodgers three times in his career.
Home runs: David Peralta (3), J.D. Martinez (16)
WP — Bobby Miller (3-0): 6 IP, 3 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts
LP — Aaron Nola (5-5): 6⅓ IP, 7 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv — Andre Jackson (2): 3 IP, 3 hits, 3 strikeouts
The Dodgers try to take the series on Sunday morning (10:35 a.m. PT;, SportsNet LA, MLB Network), using a bullpen game with everyone rested. Right-hander Taijuan Walker starts for the Phillies.
Will Smith will start at catcher on Sunday, manager Dave Roberts said, per David Vassegh of Dodger Talk, as Austin Barnes is still dealing with swelling and bruising in his right hand after getting hit by a pitch in the ninth inning on Thursday in Cincinnati.