By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
CHICAGO -- Andrew Miller has just one win in his last four starts -- he earned his second-straight no decision in the Red Sox' 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox Sunday -- but both the pitcher and his manager thought were encouraging signs about his outing.
Miller went 5 23 innings -- he's yet to pitch past the sixth inning in any of his eight starts for Boston this year - and gave up 10 hits. But he also struck out a season-high eight and walked just one.
"The ball came out of his hand better than we've seen in a while," said Terry Francona. "Saying that, he gave up some hits. But I still thought he threw the ball pretty well -- a little bit of bend, but don't break."
Miller didn't have a single 1-2-3 inning, but, again, forced his pitch count up. He threw 106 pitches to get just 17 outs, but it all resulted in a win.
"Runners in every inning is not how you draw it up," he conceded. "But I was able to get out of (some jams) in the end and give us a chance to win. Fortunately, those guys in the bullpen, as always, just came in and shut them down.
"It was a battle at times. But ultimately, we won the game."
One ominous note: Miller has given up 41 baserunners in his last 21 23 innings -- nearly two baserunners per inning.
"I gave up a lot more hits than I'd like to," said Miller, "but I think a couple of them were broken bats. Once the ball leaves my hand, it's out of my control so I have to just pitch around whatever happens next."
What might happen next is Miller could be pushed from the rotation, following the acquisition Sunday of Erik Bedard.
"I'm concerned with how I pitch," he said. "I think that's out of my control. I can't worry about that. It is what it is."
For the time being, it seems, Miller is safe as Theo Epstein broadly hinted that the Sox might go with six starters for the next few turns through the rotation.
The Sox welcomed the acquisition of Bedard. Some found out about the deal in the dugout while others didn't hear until after the game in the clubhouse as they packed and got ready to return to Boston.
"Right on . . . awesome," said Dustin Pedroia. "He's got great stuff. I'm excited to have him. He's going to help us a ton. We've had some injuries on our pitching staff. He's going to come in here and help. Hopefully, he does a great job for us. We're excited to have him. It's going to be a fun rest of the season."
"He's a very effective pitcher," said Kevin Youkilis. "He can get guys out if he's using his slider and fastball well. He's definitely a good pitcher who can get guys out. Hopefully, he can do that here in Boston. We'll find out sooner than later."
Bedard pitched in Baltimore for several seasons, but he last was there in 2008.
"I think the whole division's probably changed (since then)," Youkilis said. "This team has changed dramatically, so, I don't think (familiarity) with pitching in the AL East (isn't necessarily important). The big thing is if he has his stuff, throws strikes and gets guys out, that's all that matters."