LOS ANGELES, CA — The Dodgers send out their rookie star, Bobby Miller, tonight in the last game of this series with the Tigers. He has made a bold statement to this organization that he is the pitcher who should be in the starting rotation for the postseason. The 24-year-old sits at 10-3 with a 4.02 ERA with 99 strikeouts over 107 innings pitched. But more importantly, Miller is no longer coming out of the gate with his 100 mph heaters.
He has begun to understand what he must do to get outs and go deep into games, how to pace himself, and how to use the other pitches in his arsenal. Also, he has a very sharp-breaking slider with plenty of spin and a good change-up with fade and drop that comes out of the same arm slot as his 99-100 mph fastball.
Detroit has Reese Olson on the hill tonight. He is also a 24-year-old rookie. The big difference between him and Miller is where they play. Olson is 4-7 with a similar ERA of 4.30 with 92 innings pitched and 91 strikeouts and pitches for a Tiger team that is 70-81 in the weak Central Division of the American League. He would have 10 wins if he were playing for the Dodgers. But baseball, like life, is only sometimes fair. He throws primarily fastballs and sliders and has lower velocity numbers than Miller, but as we all know by now, it’s not how hard you throw the ball that matters if you can get outs.
Reese Olson, Filthy 88mph Changeup. 😷 pic.twitter.com/Z8Ffi1JcBU
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 21, 2023
Miller struggled for the first three innings. Allowing two earned runs. His 99-100 mph fastballs were hit consistently by the Tigers, and if not for a fantastic diving catch with the bases loaded and no outs, it could have been a three-run inning or more. But when the smoke cleared, Miller had only given up three hits and two runs over six innings. He finished with one walk and seven strikeouts. He did enough to earn a win if only the Dodger lineup could have figured Olson out.
Olson was brilliant through six innings. Giving up just one hit and no runs until Max Muncy tied a career-high with his 36th home run with two outs in that sixth inning.
36 homers ties a career-high for Max! pic.twitter.com/Du0JFDErbL
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 21, 2023
Again, you don’t have to throw 100 mph to win in the big leagues. The Tigers would win 4-2, but the bigger picture in a game that means nothing for either team in the standings was the performances of both rookie starters.
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