Orioles can't afford to keep starting Miley this month - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Orioles can’t afford to keep starting Miley this month

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Let’s start with the obvious.

Wade Miley can’t get another start for the Orioles this month while they have five healthy pitchers in the rotation. Not with Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jimenez currently much better options.

Yes, Miley is left-handed, the team’s only starting southpaw. Plus, he has a track record that shows he’s not usually this bad, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter is a big believer in track records.

But not now. Not in September with every game meaning so much.

Miley recorded four outs Monday while giving up eight hits, one walk and six runs. It’s the second time in five starts that he’s allowed six runs without getting out of the second inning.

In eight starts since being traded over from Seattle on July 31, the 29-year-old lefty with the 4.23 career ERA has an unacceptable 8.41 ERA for the Orioles. He’s given up 53 hits and 13 walks in 35 1/3 innings – nearly two baserunners per inning.

Eight games are a small sample size, but Miley pitched to a 4.98 ERA in 19 starts for the Mariners before the trade. He leaves too many pitches over the plate and is utterly hittable.

This isn’t personal. Miley seems like a solid guy. He’s been stand-up since he’s been in Baltimore, continually answering questions about what went wrong after nearly every start.

But the bottom line is this is not the time to try and turn Miley around. He’s signed through next season (he’s guaranteed roughly $9.4 million with a $12 million option for 2018). There will be an opportunity to get him going next year. For now, though, Miley needs to be put in the bullpen and pitch in long relief in games that are out of hand – one way or the other.

Monday was the wrong spot: Mid-September at Fenway Park against a first-place team to begin a crucial series. Miley’s performance crushed the Orioles before Red Sox fans could finish their first Sam Adams.

I’m not worried about the Orioles being shell-shocked for the rest of this series. They have shown an impeccable ability this year to forget all yesterdays.

But Showalter can’t keep putting Miley out there at a rate of one quality start every four times he’s on the mound.

For the record, I didn’t oppose the Miley trade in July. The Orioles needed a left-hander in the rotation, and the pitcher they gave up, Cuban rookie Ariel Miranda, is a swingman at best in the majors.

Miley hadn’t pitched well in his career against the American League East or at Camden Yards, so he certainly wasn’t a perfect fit. But given the cost of starting pitching on the trade market, the lack of quality options and the dearth of high-level prospects in the Orioles’ organization, I thought at the time it was worth the gamble to acquire Miley.

That was July. This is September.

The stakes are now too high to keep rolling him out there in a pennant race.



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 13, 2016 at 7:35 am

    Dan, why couldn’t Buck employ the following tried and true Strat-O-Matic strategy of ….

    Starting Miley just so the opposing manager loads his lineup with right handed hitters. As soon as Miley gives up a hit, replace him with an already warmed up right handed reliever / starter such as Gallardo?

    Crazy you say? Crazy like a fox maybe. Really Dan, I’ve been employing this strategy since 1974 and it really works! Can you at least suggest it to Buck for me?

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      September 13, 2016 at 8:46 am

      I love this idea, though I’m not sure how well that helps Miley psychologically. The current September call-up rules are tailor made for just such an abuse. Let’s go for it!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 13, 2016 at 10:39 am

      You know Earl once did the opposite. He would put a resting starting pitcher in the lineup at DH in case the opposition’s pitcher fell apart or was injured in the first. Then Earl wouldn’t have to burn a lefty righty switch in the first. He took it too far and once started a pitcher at DH who wasn’t at the ballpark (he had been sent to Toronto early for the next day’s start). The commissioner closed that loophole at the end of the year and Earl was proud he changed the rules

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 13, 2016 at 11:20 am

        Earl was indeed a genius. But I doubt he played Strat-O.

  2. Os fan in Detroit

    September 13, 2016 at 7:44 am

    It figures, once Ubaldo gets on track, we get another pitcher who can’t get outs.

    Dan, off topic question. Are the Os doing a rally song they lip sync to this year? They did that “We Wont Stop” song in 2014 and my kids loved it (still play it for them). They are looking for one this year.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 13, 2016 at 10:40 am

      My guess is yes. They’ve done it the last few years and it is popular. It coincides with the Thank You Fans message and so my guess is if they have one it will debut this week at the Yards.

  3. OsFanStuckInNY

    September 13, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Well said on all points. I hope he can turn it around next year and become an adequate #5 in the rotation or, at least, bring a good return as part of a winter trade, unlikely as that may be.

    Losing ugly is never fun. Looking forward to the typical O’s rebound!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 13, 2016 at 10:41 am

      This club is resilient.

  4. Bancells Moustache

    September 13, 2016 at 9:09 am

    I believe it was as far back as yesterday morning where I fearlessly declared to the world that Wade Miley sucks. What can I say, I’m a visionary. A bold, frontier risk taker. Teddy Roosevelt in a John Lowenstein throwback jersey.

    But enough about me.

    So, I generally scoff at talk radio listeners and internet commenters who shriek “Fire Buck!” when something goes wrong. It seems like a ridiculous thing to say considering Showalter’s track record and the fact that it would be tough to find anyone better. I must say though, if he allows Miley to start another game in this, what is turning into a pennant race for the ages, that just seems like outright negligence it’s time to light the hot seat.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 13, 2016 at 9:36 am

      Ooooh John Lowenstein … the most awesome-est color man we ever had around here and not a bad left fielder either!

      But light the hot seat on Buck? Not sure about that one. Careful Senior Bancells, that might backfire and singe that awesome ’70s moustache of yours.

      I would counter suggest that MASN fire Bordick and hire Mr. Lowenstein back. Even entertaining the thought of the O’s sans Showalter sends shivers down my spine. Do the names Mazzilli, Perlozza and Trembley bring back memories?

      • Bancells Moustache

        September 13, 2016 at 10:08 am

        Like I said, I too tend to laugh at the idea of replacing Buck, but he was brought here to win a Championship. Giving us “meaningful September baseball”, or instilling a “winning attitude” is all fine and well, but the ultimate objective is the parade down Pratt St. And making the decision to continue using the worst pitcher in baseball when there is zero margin for error, simply because he throws the ball with his left hand, that is basically committing playoff Hara-Kiri. I’m sorry, but that is grounds for termination in my opinion. I like Buck, I think he is one of the best managers in the game, but there has to be consequences to failure.

        I don’t think Lowenstein would come back. I think there is some animosity there between him and the organization. I don’t know that specifically, I just know that when you get inducted into a teams Hall of Fame and you don’t bother showing up, it’s not a good look. Connelly or one of his media colleagues might know more about that, who knows.

        I don’t really have a problem with Bordick. He’s not exactly Dandy Don Meredith, but I don’t think he is as terrible as everyone says. I would like to see/hear more Ben McDonald. And I really like Ross Grimsley on the radio and wonder if they could find a place for him.

        • Bancells Moustache

          September 13, 2016 at 10:35 am

          Connolly. Sorry. Not like it’s written three times at the top of the page or anything…

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 13, 2016 at 10:53 am

          My understanding was that Angelos fired Lowenstein for ‘telling it like he saw it’, and not holding back on hurting managements feelings. And Lowenstein was interesting and funny while doing so.

          Bordick on the other hand is a total shill for the team and NEVER criticizes anything other than the umpires strike zone whenever it doesn’t favor the Birds.

          And one more thing about Bordick … is it just me, or does the hair on top of his bald pate seem to be magically making a comeback?

          • Dan Connolly

            September 13, 2016 at 11:30 am

            The Lowenstein HTS decision was in 1996, before my time of coverage — its been 20 years, fellas. Wow — and so I don’t know specifics. He raised the possibility that his criticism led to the firing. Team denied and said it was a HTS decision. So I don’t know, but he has not been an active part of many things Birdland since.

          • Bancells Moustache

            September 13, 2016 at 1:57 pm

            Who knows. I just remember going to the A’s game where Lowenstein and Roenicke were inducted last year and being disappointed the man himself wasn’t present. Thought it odd he would miss it and figured there had to be a reason. Maybe he had the flu. Just random speculation which I promptly forgot about until today.

            It bothered me because I felt I had played a role in Lowenstein’s induction, as every time I went to the ballpark I would scowl disapprovingly at the Orioles HOF plaques in centerfield before grabbing the first person with an Orioles security badge I saw and berate them for the outrage of Johnny Low’s absence. Granted, it was usually some 16 year old who cooked the Hot Dogs but I’ll pretend I played a role nonetheless.

            No doubt Bordick is a warm bath, pretty ho hum in terms of on-air contribution. One could almost say he’s pretty much a banjo hitting middle infielder of a broadcaster. How appropriate.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            September 13, 2016 at 2:16 pm

            Mr. Bancells, besides you obvious good taste in facial hair, I admire the keen perception and wit in which you express yourself. Please don’t leave me hanging tomorrow.

          • Bancells Moustache

            September 13, 2016 at 2:26 pm

            Why thank you Boog, the compliment is appreciated and brings me back to my original point;

            Wade Miley sucks.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 13, 2016 at 10:42 am

      I love the fact this has turned into a discussion about Lowenstein and broadcasting. Love it. To paraphrase Brother Low, you guys have knocked the snot out of this forum.

  5. Diane J

    September 13, 2016 at 10:41 am

    I agree with everything you said, Dan. Now is not the time to give away starts in the hope that Miley plays his way out of it. We had to do it with Ubaldo, but we had no choice then. Now we do. Buck will do the right thing.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 13, 2016 at 11:33 am

      you’re right. Completely different scenario now with games evaporating and five healthy. No margin for error now.

  6. DinaMarie

    September 13, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Completely agree.

  7. OsFanInBoston

    September 13, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I don’t know what’s worse: the decision to skip Gallardo’s turn in the rotation and NOT Miley’s or the fact that Miranda’s number since the trade are better than Miley’s.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 13, 2016 at 11:25 am

      O’s fan in BOSTON!?!?! How’s that for a reversal of roles. Wicked awesome !!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 13, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Let’s not forget park effects and competition when comparing numbers, tho. Last night, Miranda threw shutout ball vs Angels. Miley faced the Red Sox in Fenway. I hear what you’re saying, but let’s not dismiss that completely.

  8. pedro

    September 13, 2016 at 11:25 am

    When DD made the trade for Miley, Ubaldo was struggling. It was a trade made out of desperation. Miley is a National League starter, where he gets one easy out each time through the order. When he pitched for the Red Sox, he looked like he was throwing BP. He still does. Hopefully, we can deal him to a National League team this off season (and pick up some salary).

    • Dan Connolly

      September 13, 2016 at 11:36 am

      good thoughts. The desperation/motivation also had plenty to do with no lefty in the rotation, too.

  9. Mau

    September 13, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    As the mustachiOed man says, Wade Miley sucks.

  10. Dante

    September 14, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Agreed. Mop up duty for now.

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