Mariners Analysis: Miley’s Walk-Filled Inning Sets Personal Worsts

Apr 19, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Wade Miley (20) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Wade Miley (20) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Mariners number three starter, Wade Miley, has played in 140 career games; on Tuesday he achieved something he had done only once before: walk four batters in an inning.

Thankfully, the inning didn’t run away from him as it did to the Washington Senators Dolly Gray – who managed eights walks in a single frame- but it did raise concern over Miley’s control, which must be consistent to make up for Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma’s unprecedented personal walk totals this season.

“I lost it. I don’t know what happened,”- Wade Miley

From the onset, Wade didn’t have “it”, gifting hittable pitches all night. The Indians were quite glad to be on the receiving end of each toss, collecting two hits in the first, only to be sent to the dugout by an inning ending double-play. By the end of the second inning, it was looking more like a day Miley would already want to forget. He gave up three more singles, only to be saved yet again by and inning-ending double-play. While he came out unscathed through two, he could have never guessed that things were about to get much worse for him.

It was the third inning where the Indians finally made a dent in the scoreboard and Miley’s ego. The Mariners starter gave up three more hits including two extra-base knocks that brought in the home sides first run. Remarkably, a third inning-ending double-play stopped the bleeding, for now; but this cut was in major need of attention as Miley bruised confidence was about to lead him through arguably one of the worst innings of his career.

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Having taken such a beating only to to recused again and again (and again) through the first third of the game, a deflated Miley managed to muster enough energy to return to the mound. In quick succession, his first three pitches- two swing and misses- were enough to send Yan Gomes packing. When Juan Uribe stepped into the batter’s box everything changed. Miley’s three consecutive strikes were followed by 3 consecutive balls, eventually leading to a free pass to first for the veteran Dominican slugger.

Not only was this Miley’s first walk of the game, it happened to be his first base on balls given up this year. He had gone 15.1 innings without issuing a walk. That was the second longest stretch without allowing a walk during his six year career- his personal best being 16 innings flat.

As it is said, when it rains it pours, and the next batter, Marlon Bryd made sure the storm continued by singling to left putting another runner on. Visibly shaken, Miley threw the following four pitches out of the strike zone, loading the bases for the second time in the game.

A fourth double-play wasn’t going to get him out of this jam though. Without regaining his composure, the Mariner starter threw two more balls – bringing his total to seven straight- before giving up back-to-back walks, and allowing Bryd to come home and add another run. Miley had never given up three consecutive walks in his career.

After an eager Jason Kipnis – who most certainly was trying to come up with a big bases load hit – struck out despite getting ahead in the the count (2-1), Miley picked up where he left off, walking his fourth batter of the inning, sending another runner across home plate before being replaced by Mike Montgomery, who got the final out of the inning without further damage being inflicted. Miley had only walked home two batters in the same game once in his nearly 150 career starts, but not in the same inning.

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Surprisingly, Miley had been here before, nearly three years ago to the day. On April 27th in 2013, Miley walked the first two Colorado Rockies he faced that night, then coincidentally was saved by a double-play before he surrendered two more walks. These were four of the seven free passes the then, Arizona Diamondback pitcher gave out that evening. Yet, even on this chaotic pitching day, he didn’t give up an earned run via the walk.

At the game’s conclusion Miley was handed his second loss of the young season with his ERA hovering at an atrocious 8.25. The small town player, had big thoughts as to why things went awry in the fourth. He told Greg Johns of, “…in that fourth inning, I just got to thinking — something I don’t do a whole lot — and got mechanical and really lost it.”

Next: M’s come up short in Cleveland, drop opener

The journeyman pitcher has endured rough starts to a season in past years, most recently in 2015, where he posted an April worst, 8.62 ERA. Yet Miley cannot afford to “lose it” like Tuesday or last April many more times with so many minor-league arms like James Paxton and Adrian Sampson battling for his spot in the rotation.