The Orioles got walloped by the Red Sox last night 12-2 and Wade Miley’s pitching was a big reason for it. He was awful. The lefty’s struggles are reaching the point where it may make the most sense to simply banish him to the bullpen and try again in the spring.
Miley came to Baltimore from Seattle back on July 31 in exchange for 27-year-old farmhand Ariel Miranda. So, with all due respect to Miranda, it seemed like a pretty low-risk deal. Wade was bad with the Mariners; 7-8, 4.98 ERA, 82 ERA+, 4.76 FIP over 19 games. He has been worse with the Orioles. Like, much, much worse; 1-5, 7.15 ERA, 63 ERA+, 4.79 FIP over seven games. And those numbers were taken prior to Monday night’s disaster.
To open a crucial three-game series with Boston on Monday, Miley took the hill, but wouldn’t stay long. Over just 1.1 innings of work, he gave up six runs on eight hits and one walk without striking anyone out. That’s not the line of a major league-caliber pitcher. That is a “designated-for-assignment-type performance.
Of course, Miley won’t be DFA’ed. If the Birds had someone markedly better than him, they would already be on the roster at this point. They aren’t. Plus, Miley’s contract runs through next season and could even be extended if the O’s pick up the $12 million option for 2018. Right now, that seems like an unlikely scenario, but if he can rebound next year and even be league-average then it would be a heck of a bargain, especially for a left-hander.
With Chris Tillman back from injury, the Orioles rotation is pretty well defined. Kevin Gausman may be the staff’s best pitcher. Dylan Bundy has shown he can be reliable. Yovani Gallardo is unspectacular but tends to keep the team in the game. Heck, even Ubaldo Jimenez looks good. And someone like Tyler Wilson or Vance Worley could do a job if needed. Miley is surplus to requirements. So, why keep trotting him out there every fifth day? Because he throws with his left hand? That’s not a good reason.
Only 19 games remain in the 2016 season. According to MLB.com, the Orioles have a 56.7 percent chance of getting to the playoffs. That’s not too bad, but to do that they need to win most of their final games of the year. Over Miley’s eight starts with the O’s, the team is 2-6, a .250 winning percentage. In those two wins, they just barely outscored opponents 18-15. Yeah, to win a game Miley pitches, the Birds need eight or nine runs per game. Nah, that’s not gonna work.
Our tweet pretty much sums it up:
The Orioles need to go 10-10 to reach 88 wins, or 10-7 in every game where Wade Miley isn't pitching.— Camden Chat (@CamdenChat) September 12, 2016
Oh, and there is this one!
With Wade Miley's start tonight, I declare Operation: Just Not Try to Be Too Horrible a complete failure.— Dan Szymborski (@DSzymborski) September 13, 2016
if I was as bad at my job as Wade Miley is at his, I would be fired— Orioles Memes (@OriolesMemes) September 12, 2016
It’s really that simple. Miley joined the Orioles at a time where the pitching staff was in ruins. All he had to do was be serviceable. But he has been unable to do so. And since he was brought into the fold, those around him have improved while he has become the weak link.
Every game is important at this point in the season and the Orioles have a razor-thin margin or error. Removing Miley from the equation for the final three weeks gives the O’s a better chance of winning in two or three more ball games this year. That could very well be the difference between playoff baseball and an early vacation.
Oh, and before anyone else mentions it, Miranda pitched for the Mariners last night too and threw six shutout innings against the Angels. Over eight appearances with Seattle, the lefty is 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA. He had tossed only two innings for the O’s back in July. So, this trade may have actually been more of a risk than originally believed, especially if Miley’s pitching costs the Orioles a shot at October baseball.