Wade Miley was just happy to be in the majors when he broke camp as the Diamondbacks’ long reliever.
“I didn’t care if I was the bullpen catcher,” he said about making the team out of spring.
How things have changed. The question now: Could he be an All-Star this summer?
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Miley has developed into a key component in the rotation after an injury created an opening in late April, and he has made seven quality stats since, including five of his last six starts overall.
He had everything but his mojo working Wednesday, when a career-high eight strikeouts were not enough to prevent a 1-0 loss to Texas. The Rangers scored on a walk, a sacrifice bunt and a hard groundball single by Craig Gentry that ate up third baseman Ryan Roberts in the eighth inning. The D-backs got only two runners as far as second base against Rangers starter Matt Harrison and two relievers.
“It was a tough one, for sure. I made a mistake out over the middle of the plate (to Gentry). I knew they were going to be aggressive with a runner on second base,” Miley said.
Miley gave up three hits and walked one in 7 2/3 innings, and he got six of his strikeouts on low sliders, some of which the Rangers could not hold back on even though the pitches bounced in the dirt as they reached the plate.
“I felt like it was working pretty good. I was able to keep it down in the zone,” Miley said.
At 30-32, the D-backs do not have a plethora of All-Star candidates, and Miley might be the top contender. He is 7-3 with a 2.39 ERA and is tied with Texas right-hander Yu Darvish for the most victories by a major league rookie. His 1.04 WHIP ratio is ninth in the NL, virtually tied with Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg.
But he refuses to pay much attention to the talk that is building.
“I just try not to think about that too much. Just stay focused on what we’re trying to do as a team, and we’ll go from there,” he said. NOTES, QUOTES
— The D-backs scored 37 runs in the five-game winning streak that immediately preceded their current road trip, but they have only one in two nights against the Rangers. “I don’t have any answers for you,” an obviously frustrated Kirk Gibson said Wednesday. The D-backs did not get a runner past second base in failing to support LHP Wade Miley in a 1-0 loss Wednesday, and their only run in a 9-1 loss Tuesday was on catcher Miguel Montero’s eighth-inning home run. They were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position in the first two games of the series.
— LHP Wade Miley threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 14 batters he faced from the third inning into the seventh, giving up only a single in that time. He was remarkably efficient, throwing only 37 pitches through four innings and 49 through five before finishing with 93 in 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball. “He threw a great game — he had great stuff. It was his best stuff,” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. Miley gave up only two runners, on singles in the third and seventh innings, before Texas scored in the eighth to earn the 1-0 win.
— SS Stephen Drew is scheduled to play back-to-back games for on his rehab assignment with Class AAA Reno on Thursday and Friday after tripling in four at-bats Monday. It would mark Drew’s first appearance in consecutive games since he suffered a season-ending right ankle injury July 20, 2011. “It’s kind of like checking off boxes with a major injury like that,” Drew said before starting the assignment last Thursday. He is hitting .308 with a triple, a homer and two RBIs through his first three rehab games.
— RHP Trevor Bauer, the D-backs’ top pitching prospect, won his 10th game of the season for Class AAA Reno on Wednesday, but it was not easy. Bauer gave up four runs in five innings of 13-5 victory over Colorado Springs, including a two-run home run by Colorado SS Troy Tulowitzki, playing on a rehab assignment. Bauer, who pitched seven shutout innings and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in a 4-0 victory in Tucson on Friday, struck out two and gave up 10 hits.
— RHP Takashi Saito (calf) struggled in his latest rehab outing at Class AAA Reno, giving up four hits and two runs while getting only one out at Colorado Springs on Monday. He has not pitched since. “His calf was fine, but he didn’t throw the ball very good,” Gibson said. Saito, who has been on the disabled list all season, had pitched a scoreless inning in each of his first two appearances. BY THE NUMBERS
7 — Base runners (six hits and a walk) that LHP Wade Miley has permitted in his past two starts over 15 2/3 innings. QUOTE TO NOTE
“We’ve scored one run in two games. It’s hard to win ballgames that way. They outexecuted us when it counted.” — D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.