Bobby Miller was better than his final line would suggest, but late issues and a blowup outing for Caleb Ferguson gave the Dodgers an 8-3 loss at the hands of the Guardians on Tuesday night in Cleveland.
The Dodgers started off hot, but cooled off massively against Noah Syndergaard, as the veteran clawed his way into a quality start.
Miller has pitched his way into being one of the more important arms for the Dodgers in 2023. but as we get near the final month of the season, there’s still a bit of a question mark as to what role he’ll play in the postseason.
Ultimately, the right-hander left with a defeat on his record tonight, but for a team safe in postseason contention, his start was very encouraging, even if in the end a bit sour.
Through five of his first six innings, Miller held Guardians' bats more than in check, he dominated them, but in between them, there were struggles in the fourth, which really drove up his pitch count.
On an 0-2 count, Miller left a hanging breaking ball to Oscar González, who had just enough strength, and help from the wind, to drive it 346 ft. over the right-field wall, for Cleveland’s first run. The Guardians followed with three straight singles, none of which were hard-hit, and tacked on an extra run, making this, at the time, a 3-2 game, still in favor of the Dodgers.
Miller completed the following two innings with ease, but in the seventh, as Dave Roberts attempted to push him a little, the game unraveled.
Two of the first three reached, which forced Ferguson to come into the game, and the southpaw simply couldn’t get anyone out after Myles Straw. The next three reached, culminating in a three-run shot from Kole Calhoun, to make it 7-3, Guardians.
Miller’s line will read four runs and a loss, but in an outing in which he earned 20 whiffs, including multiple ones on each of his pitches, there were plenty of positives to take away.
As it was expected, the Dodgers did, indeed, run around on Syndergaard, stealing three bags, two by Mookie Betts, and another one by Freddie Freeman.
However, after allowing a two-run shot to Will Smith in the opening frame, the Guardians’ starter held the Dodgers’ bats in check, being able to complete six innings with only three runs.
The Dodgers only reached base five times in six innings against Syndergaard, who has a 6.42 ERA this seson.
It’s not ideal form to cop out to the randomness of baseball in a frustrating loss, but this is a classic example of how small sample sizes can be affected by so many factors.
Miller is a much better pitcher than Syndergaard right now. Miller pitched significantly better than Syndergaard tonight, allowing less than half the number of hard-hit balls that Syndergaard did.
Yet, it is the home starter who leaves with the last laugh defeating his old club, because of timing, a decent bit of luck, and other factors. Because this is baseball, and that’s how it works.
Home runs: Will Smith (16); Oscar González (2), Kole Calhoun (2)
WP — Sam Hentges (2-2): 1 IP, 3 strikeouts
LP — Bobby Miller (7-3): 6⅓ IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts
The Dodgers look to avoid their first series loss in August, and will send Clayton Kershaw to the mound on Wednesday night (4:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), opposed by rookie Xzavion Curry for the Guardians.