This one was not as pretty as the others. Miller gave up four walks in five innings without striking out a single Oriole. Things were better than that makes it sound, though, as he also induced nine groundouts to help tip the scales back in his favor and hold Baltimore to just three runs.
Miller is clearly still working on some things, and while the results have been promising to this point, he isn't quite where he needs to be yet. He has shown he can strike out hitters at times, and he has been able to keep his control and command mostly in check, but the only serious consistency he has had is in his ability to keep the ball on the ground.
That's useful, though, especially with the Red Sox infield defense. Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez are two of the top gloves at their position, while Kevin Youkilis and Marco Scutaro are about average. Peter Abraham mentioned Miller's high WHIP as a potential problem yesterday, both on Twitter and in a Globe piece, but let's give things a little more perspective here. We're talking about 22-2/3 innings here. Citing any particular stat like that means nothing at this stage.
The thing that matters is his approach. He has been attacking the strike zone and throwing strikes much more than he had in the past when he struggled with the Tigers and the Marlins. This has allowed him to induce a ton of grounders, more than ever has as a starter in the majors. He is still learning how to be a major league pitcher, though, so there will be ups -- like his first start -- and downs, too, like last night's.
I have been making a point of updating his starts here at Over the Monster mostly so we can see if his approach is holding up. Is he still throwing strikes? Is he remaining aggressive with his stuff? Those are the important questions when it comes to Miller, and while last night was the first disappointment in that regard, it's just one start. Don't be overly excited about the lefty, but don't get too down on him either. He may be 26, but thanks to an odd development path, he is still learning things he should have years ago. He may not turn out to be much more than a fifth starter, but if he can continue to figure things out, there could be more to him than that.