After his 6.17 ERA, fan expectations are low for Wade Miley

The Orioles’ trio of veteran starting pitchers was reduced to the duo of Ubaldo Jimenez and Wade Miley after Yovani Gallardo was traded to Seattle for outfielder Seth Smith.

The Orioles sent one starting pitcher to Seattle after acquiring one from Seattle at the trade deadline last year. The addition then was left-hander Miley, who certainly has a better resume than what O’s fans saw on the mound late last year.

In 30 starts in 2016 between Seattle and Baltimore, Miley went 9-13 with a 5.37 ERA, which was his career-worst earned run average. His WHIP of 1.422 and 10.1 hits allowed per nine innings were the worst since his first year in the majors in 2011 when he pitched 40 innings for Arizona.

In 11 starts with the Orioles after the trade, Miley went 2-5 with a 6.17 ERA, 1.574 WHIP and 11.7 hits allowed per nine innings. At least his walk (2.5 per nine) and strikeout (9.2 per nine) rates were respectable. But right-handed hitters mashed him for a .333 batting average and .894 OPS in those 11 starts. Left-handed batters hit .222/.627 against him.

Wade-Miley-throwing-black-sidebar.jpgMiley’s last three starts perhaps provide at least some encouragement for his 2017 season. After his ERA was 8.41 in eight Baltimore starts - two of which lasted only four and five outs - his ERA was 1.92 over his last three starts. In that small sample, he went 18 2/3 innings, allowing 17 hits with two walks and 23 strikeouts.

But O’s fans can take a longer look at Miley’s resume. It includes his finishing second in the 2012 National League Rookie of the Year voting behind the Nationals’ Bryce Harper. He was an All-Star that year when he went 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA for the Diamondbacks. He was Arizona’s opening day starter in 2014.

From 2011-13 with Arizona, Miley went 30-23 with a 3.54 ERA and an ERA-plus of 112. But the last three years - with Arizona, Boston, Seattle and Baltimore - he is 28-36 with an ERA of 4.68. His ERA has risen each of the past three seasons, from 4.34 in 2014 to 4.46 and then to 5.37. That is obviously trending in the wrong direction.

Miley does give the Orioles a lefty starter, something they didn’t have last season until he took the mound in Game 106 in early August. The 2002 Orioles are the only club in team history to go all year without even one start from a southpaw.

Miley has been durable in his career, with five straight years of 29 or more starts. He pitched 190 or more innings every season from 2012 through 2015.

The Orioles saw a Miley last season that was terrible for eight starts and very good for the last three. His resume indicates he might provide a reliable back-of-the-rotation arm. But after his poor 2016 season, many O’s fans remain skeptical.

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