One of the notable acquisitions by the Astros during the offseason had an unspectacular, yet solid debut for his new club.
Thanks to a resurgent 2018 with the Brewers (80 2/3 IP, 2.57 ERA), Wade Miley was able to land a major league contract in the latest offseason with the Astros. The 32-year old left-hander, at the time of signing, was viewed as something akin to a cheaper Dallas Keuchel. That opinion hasn’t necessarily changed from one start. Somehow, someway, Keuchel is still a free agent, but that is a topic for another day.
Miley found a home in Houston’s rotation as the club’s number four starter. While the Astros were struggling to generate runs, the southpaw made his first start on Sunday against the Rays in Tampa and the results were somehow predictable.
6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO, 87 pitches-60 strikes
All in all, Miley’s debut as an Astro was respectable. Sure, he did surrender three runs in a game where Houston had little room for error. Austin Meadows, who drove in all three of Tampa’s runs Sunday, is a name that the Astros won’t forget anytime soon. But Miley held his own against a team that won 90 games last season. That has to count for something, right? When the lineup is clicking, the Astros should be pleased with these kind of performances for their number four starter.
The left-hander did a lot of things right in his debut start for the Astros. He noticeably relied on his cut fastball (68.9 percent of the time), which was a key addition to his pitch arsenal last season. For context, he threw 1,291 pitches in 2018. Out of those 1,291 pitches, he used a cutter 41.1 percent of the time. Against the Rays on Sunday, Miley really went out of his way to throw his cutter and it was effective. In fact, all three of the Rays runs came across via a curveball and a changeup.
Miley is going to be an interesting pitcher to watch for the Astros. While it is doubtful that he can reach the peak that he did in 2018, Houston may have found something with Miley’s cut fastball. If he can have more starts than not like this weekend, the club’s $4.5 million investment for the 2019 season will pay out some notable dividends.