Wading through my Miley feelings
Full disclosure, I have had a grudge against Wade Miley. Not Wade Miley himself, but against what the Red Sox gave up to get him.
I was irked that the team sent away Rubby De La Rosa, who I believed to be the most promising of the young hurlers to take the field for the Red Sox last season. I didn’t like seeing Allen Webster go either.
Miley, in and of himself, I liked. I’d followed him for a number of seasons after he wound up on a couple of my Fantasy rosters, and he was serviceable, if not good, for most of that time. But I couldn’t see the real difference between he an De La Rosa, other than Boston giving up a bunch of controllable seasons over the younger righties to acquire a lefty they’d need to extend with extra money that could have otherwise been used for a Scherzer, Shields or Lester.
That was my mindset heading into the year, and the first half of the season more or less proved it out. De La Rosa went 6-5 with a 5.06 ERA, but it was coupled with a decent 1.31 WHIP and 99 strikeouts in 110 innings pitched.
Comparatively, Miley was 8-8 with a 4.80 ERA with 73 strikeouts and a lesser 1.43 WHIP.
Webster, for this year at least, has been a throwaway, carrying a 7.11 ERA in four major league starts. And he’s been statistically worse for Triple-A Reno than he was at the major league level.
Here’s the thing, though: While De La Rosa and Miley have been statistically comparable, De La Rosa has put up his numbers against inferior National League lineups (considering the pitcher batting) while Miley has more or less held serve while transitioning to the higher-pressure Boston marketplace against new opponents and stronger lineups.
He’ll get better (although, you can certainly say the same about De La Rosa and Webster).
Then came tonight.
Dispensing his pitches PEZ-fashion against one of the hottest lineups in baseball featuring the best player on the planet, Miley was as good as he’s been all year.
He’s hit and miss. One night he’s great. Another, he’s awful. But on Friday, he was virtually flawless, He struck out six, walked two and gave up just one hit in seven shutout innings before Mike Trout stole the game away from the bullpen on a walk off home run for Anaheim.
Time will tell how this trade really balances out. But after tonight, it’s pretty hard to hang on to that grudge.
Speaking of letting time sort things out, how fun has it been to watch Xander Bogaerts arrive over the past eight weeks or so?
I was just coming into my Red Sox fanhood when Nomar Garciaparra was en route to his Rookie of the Year award in 1997. I see a lot of parallels between then and now for the two players – nothing more so than that feeling something awesome was about to happen every time Nomar came to the plate.
I get that same feeling with Bogaerts.
He’s on pace to cut his strikeout total by more than a third and improve his hit total by nearly 50 percent — a huge jump on the learning curve from his .240 season last year.
More than that, though, he is showing the intangibles that you can’t find on the stat sheet – the kind that separate the all-stars from the elite. These next few years should be fun.