Miller's 'poor performance' dooms Red Sox

Miller's 'poor performance' dooms Red Sox
September 3, 2011, 4:16 am
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By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Andrew Miller didnt waste words. This was not what he had been expecting, and certainly not what he was hoping for.

After two strong outings, during which he gave up just one run over 11 23 combined innings in Kansas City and Texas, his outing against the Rangers Friday night at Fenway Park was, in his words, a pretty poor performance. He lasted just 1 13 innings, giving up six runs on five hits and four walks, with one strikeout and a balk. After a three-run homer to Kinsler in the second, he departed, leaving the bases loaded for Michael Bowden.

He faced 13 batters, throwing 52 pitches (26 strikes). Millers record fell to 6-2, while his ERA jumped to 5.27. He threw 30 pitches in the first inning, just 16 for strikes.

We fell behind some guys and we couldnt really zone in, said catcher Jason Varitek. Not to make excuses, but its been a while (Miller's last appearance was Aug. 25) since hes been on the mound. They didnt really give him much room and once that happened they stepped on the gas pedal pretty good.

In the first inning, after walking Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, Miller committed a balk before striking out Josh Hamilton, looking at a slider. But Michael Youngs single scored Kinsler, and Adrian Beltres sacrifice fly scored Andrus before Mike Napoli grounded out to end the inning.

In the second, after Yorvit Torrrealba and David Murphy led off with singles, Craig Gentry moved them over with a sacrifice bunt, which would prove to be the only out Miller could get in the inning. Kinsler followed with a three-run blast over the Monster. Andrus walked for the second time, and Hamiltons single and walk to Michael Young loaded the bases, ending Millers night.

Michael Bowden entered in the unenviable position. After getting Beltre to fly out, Bowden walked in Andrus, before getting Torrealba to popout to Dustin Pedroia. All the runs were charged to Miller, giving the Sox' woeful offense (two hits) a hole it couldnt remedy.

He started out on the first couple of hitters not commanding and it turned into a couple of runs in the first inning, fortunately just a couple, manager Terry Francona said. Second inning, ball to shortstop Jed Lowries left and couldnt get to, and a ball, kind of a roller gets by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Then he leaves a ball over the middle and it goes a long way. They spread it out and then we couldnt stop it from there. so it was kind of a bad night all the way around. They did a lot offensively. We did very little. Just a tough night.

it was not the kind of outing Francona was expecting from Miller after his two previous outings.

We got awfully excited about Miller after his last couple of starts, Francona said, "and then today coming out of the chute, he was just leaving a lot of balls up, especially arm side, and then when he did bring it in to the plate it was in the middle and got hit.

Facing the Rangers in back-to-back starts -- his Aug. 25 appearance was in Texas -- was not an issue, Miller said.

No, it was one of those times I went out and walked the first two guys and kind of put us back on our heels and never really made the correction, he said. I certainly thought after getting through the first not the way I wanted to go felt like I still had plenty to go to be able to keep us in the game long enough. A couple of ground ball hits to start the inning . . . Pitch was supposed to be in to Kinsler. Im assuming it wasnt. Things snowballed from there. Just never made the correct adjustment.

His pregame warmup gave him no hint of what was to come.

Felt great in the bullpen, he said. Felt good in my warmup pitches right before the game, just kind of came out and didnt have the zone right away. Ended up costing.

His inconsistencies from his previous two starts to this, though, are not completely unexpected. He has had similar stretches in his 13 starts with the Sox since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in June. But, given his previous two outings -- allowing just six hits and four walks with nine strikeouts this one is even more frustrating.

Disappointing, he said. Felt like I had been throwing the ball well. I had gotten opportunities, certainly didnt do that tonight. From here you kind of dust yourself off and Ill be prepared the next time I get an opportunity. But pretty poor performance tonight.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen