Wade Miley‘s failure to quiet the Rays in ALDS Game Three should be the end of his season.
With the Astros trailing 5-1 in the 4th inning of ALDS Game Three on Monday, AJ Hinch pulled Zack Greinke from the game after Greinke issued a two-out walk to the Rays No. 9 hitter Willy Adames. After Hector Rondon allowed a single to the only batter he faced, Hinch went to Wade Miley to try to stop the bleeding.
Miley proceeded to allow a two-run double and an RBI single on consecutive pitches, ballooning the team’s deficit to seven runs and putting the game essentially out of reach. He also allowed runs in the 6th and 7th innings to finish with a line of 2.2 innings pitched, four hits, three runs, two earned runs, one walk and one strikeout.
The fact that Hinch went to Miley in relief is telling. Miley was one of the 10 best pitchers in the league for the first five months of the season, but it all came unraveled in September. He posted a 16.68 ERA in five appearances, calling into question whether the Astros would use him or rookie Jose Urquidy as the team’s fourth starter in the playoffs.
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As it turns out, the team won’t even use a fourth starter. They’re going with ace Justin Verlander on short rest in Game Four. If there is a Game Five, Gerrit Cole would pitch on regular rest. Urquidy is probably in line to throw multiple innings behind Verlander if needed.
Using Miley in Game Three means Hinch likely wasn’t even considering starting him in Game Four. On top of that, Miley was just as ineffective as he was in September. If the team advances to the ALCS, they would be wise to leave Miley off the roster the rest of the way.
If the Astros advance, they will likely add a 12th pitcher to the roster, as they did in the ALCS and World Series over the past two years. Brad Peacock has been continuing to throw in anticipation of being that additional pitcher, and he should be.
If Miley is left off, the team would have to add another pitcher to take his place. There are several options, such as Chris Devenski, Joe Biagini and Framber Valdez. But the choice should be Bryan Abreu.
The reason Abreu wasn’t added to the ALDS roster likely comes down to experience. The rookie has thrown only 8.2 innings at the big league level, so they clearly didn’t feel comfortable throwing him into the fire. However, those 8.2 innings were good ones, as he allowed just one run while striking out 13.
At this point, the Astros have to know they can’t count on Miley, Devenski, Biagini or Valdez for any meaningful innings in the playoffs. But they don’t know that about Abreu. There’s upside there that isn’t present in the other potential options, nor is it present in Miley. Better to roll the dice on a young guy with promise than a veteran who can’t get it together.
As good as Miley was for five months, it’s unfortunate that the wheels fell off his season. He’s an impending free agent and should get another shot with a team next year, whether in Houston or elsewhere. Maybe he can fix things in the offseason, but for now, there’s no point in prolonging the struggles through the playoffs.