Abandoned by offense, Braves Miller keeps cool

Shelby Miller got plenty of love in St. Louis last weekend. Or was it sympathy?  (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Shelby Miller got plenty of love in St. Louis last weekend. Or was it sympathy? (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

If nothing else will make Shelby Miller’s head explode – and that area immediately beneath the Depression-era throwback haircut seems bomb shelter solid – then there’s one name that should at least unsettle him.

Kenshin Kawakami. Yes, for the first time I saw that lamentable figure in Braves history connected to Miller. Those are fighting words. That’s up there at the I-just-insulted-your-mother-and-burned-your-crops level.

Kawakami, imported by the Braves in 2009, went 8-22 over a couple Major League seasons while sucking up more than $20 million in payroll. He quietly returned to Japan by way of the Mississippi Braves, where rumor has it he still wears a Chunichi Dragons uniform. His signing, paired with Derek Lowe’s, were among the most significant cracks in the Frank Wren regime.

As the Braves pitcher with the most-ever starts between victories (14), Kawakami was a point of reference following Miller’s loss Saturday to his old buddies in St. Louis. For the sin of giving up two hits and run over 7 1/3 innings to the Cards, Miller marked his 12th start without a victory.

That he has gone winless since May 17 is one of the great injustices in sports. Ranks right up there with that Panama soccer loss to Mexico, I guess.

Miller is the All-Star quality pitcher who has gotten, like Saturday, exactly zero runs of support in nine of his starts. The Braves hitters have gone deadbeat father on him. He has gotten so little support he should change his name to Dukakis. And here comes a Kawakami comparison, when about all those two have in common are opposable thumbs.

That’s the final indignity. Were I Miller, I’d start throwing some four-seam sandwiches at the post-game spread. Water coolers would tremble at my approach. Time to redecorate the clubhouse, give it a Greek ruins look.

Yet he has been the picture of calm and control these past two months.

Nah, I’d go public. I’d start saying things like:

“I didn’t sign up to play with the Von Trapp Family Hitters.”

“What did I do to these guys, anyway? They’re playing like I stole their meal money.”

“Hey, some real nice at-bats today. Hope scouts from ‘The Walking Dead’ were here. They always need more extras.”

“Is it too much to ask for a run every new moon or so? Even a rag like Penthouse produces once a month.”

But that’s just me. Miller’s a better man.

Reader Comments 0

7 comments
FalconsDetective
FalconsDetective

There is a second kind of baseball currency.

It's called hitting.

Hart is flat broke there but attends free, in addition to be well paid so what does he care.

Greinke, the other star pitcher for the Dodgers, became a head case for the Royals when, stop me if you've heard this, they could not score runs when he pitched.

This last unnecessary trade, to the Mets no less, reveals Hart was lying in the conference call last year to season ticket holders.

You don't trade two hitters on a team in bad need of it to a division rival for two crappy pitchers if you are thinking staying competitive.

Hart lied, pure and simple.

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Dont worry Shelby. You will soon be on a championship team, just not here. Im sure the cheapskates at Liberty Media are cooking up a way to trade you for some worthless prospects that a real contender has given up on along with plenty of CASH for their corporate bonus coffers.

CowbellHell
CowbellHell

Trade Tehran for a big bopper and go ahead and move Shelby to the Ace of the staff spot where he belongs

Centrist
Centrist

This is going to pay off in the next year or so and I think Mr. Miller knows that.  He will be a twenty game winner soon.  In the meantime I admire his patience and maturity.  Very tough to pitch as well as he has, to pitch as well as anyone is pitching in the majors right now, and have nothing to show for it.  I would imagine his team mates don't feel very good about this either.

GaLatino
GaLatino

Poor Miller.  He's on track for the first losing record with a sub-3 ERA since 2005.  Meanwhile, Heyward is putting up a typical average-but-still-disappointing-cuz-you-think-he's-gonna-break-out season, and he's headed deep into the playoffs most likely.


hardworkinman
hardworkinman

Miller has one job: to make quality pitches and keep the opponent from scoring. Miller does his job well. That's all he can control. When he starts to worry about what the offense is doing, it will affect his pitching. Anyone who knows anything about baseball can see that Miller is one of the best in the business despite his W/L record.