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Shelby Miller’s Diamondbacks (exhibition) career off to a rough start

christophergaine
Feb 19, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray (38) talks to pitcher Shelby Miller (26) during spring training camp at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 19, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray (38) talks to pitcher Shelby Miller (26) during spring training camp at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
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Shelby Miller’s first start with the Diamondbacks on Saturday was rough. He allowed two runs and five hits to the Dodgers in two innings, starting off his (exhibition) career in the desert with a sour note.

Today he pitched to a better– albeit not spectacular– final stat line.

Miller allowed just one run in three innings against the Angels today. But the peripherals behind that start were rough– Miller allowed four hits, one walk and a wild pitch. Miller’s current spring training earned run average sits at 5.40.

There’s very little that can be drawn from five innings pitched in Feburary, but the fact remains that Shelby Miller must pitch like an ace for the Diamondbacks to justify that trade. They gave up their two best prospects and a .300 hitter for Shelby Miller. He can’t just be a good pitcher.

The best case scenario in this situation is that it’s just two emeaningless spring starts and that they have absolutely no bearing on how Miller pitches once the games start to count.

However, the worst case scenario is that Miller is in the process of a regression that began last May. Miller posted a pedestrian 3.77 ERA over his final 23 starts of last season– not exactly the numbers the Diamondbacks are hoping for. Despite a career 3.24 ERA, his  3.82 FIP indicates he may have over-performed his true abilities. This scenario has little to do with his five spring innings, but is still plausible.

Miller’s past two outings have to serve as a dissapointment for the Diamondbacks. He should have at least three more spring training outings before he makes his real Diamondbacks debut in the second game of the season.

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