second consecutive game, Miller was removed shortly after appearing to scrape his hand on the pitching mound during his follow-through.Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller suffered a strange bout of déjà vu during Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. For the
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, Miller faced off against outfielder Hunter Pence. On the 2-1 pitch, Miller’s arm extended a little too much during his follow-through, and appeared to hit the pitcher’s mound. He looked down at his hand right after the play, and rubbed his fingers together.
While it looked as though Miller’s hand may have again touched the mound, he said that wasn’t the case after the game.
It does look like some dirt kicks up from the mound in the video, but perhaps it’s possible Miller came dangerously close to scraping his hand, but didn’t actually make contact with the mound again.
Miller’s pitch was also off the mark, leading to a 3-1 count. He walked Pence on his next toss, and was removed from the game by manager A.J. Hinch. Miller lasted just two innings during the start, giving up two runs on one hit. He walked five batters during the outing.
After being acquired by Arizona in the offseason, Miller has had a rough start with his new club. Through four starts, the 25-year-old has a 8.59 ERA, with a terrible 10-to-11 strikeout to walk ratio over 14 2/3 innings.
Eight of those walks have come during Miller’s last two starts, and seven have come after the Miller’s first run-in with the pitcher’s mound. He initially scraped his hand on a 1-1 pitch to Andrew Cashner during his April 16 start. Miller would go on to walk Cashner and Jon Jay before being removed from the game.
Following Miller’s rough start Thursday, Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com opined that Miller’s command could have been off due to him being concerned about hitting the mound with his hand again. It’s worth noting that Miller walked the bases loaded in the third prior to walking Pence and being pulled from the game.
Piecoro also grabbed two screenshots showing Miller’s mechanics this year compared to last season. If the numbers weren’t proof enough that something was wrong with Miller, the pictures show a significant change in his follow-through.
Put all of that together, and it’s hardly the start D-Backs fans were expecting when the team gave up a huge haul to bring in Miller during the offseason.
Given that he’s with a new team, it’s not all that surprising that Miller’s mechanics are off. He’s aware of the issue, and it’s probably a correctable issue if he can identify some flaws when he reviews video of the start. There’s no logical reason to think Miller is suddenly awful at age-25, so he could easily return to form by making the right adjustment.
That said, Miller’s slow start has to be frustrating for all parties, and pretty bizarre. It’s not often a pitcher makes contact with the pitcher’s mound during his follow-through. And it’s especially odd that it nearly happened to Miller a second time.
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