Wade Miley once was one of the National League’s better young left-handed starters, but things began to change when he left for the American League.
There, a couple problems developed. Hitters kept leaving the batter’s box without swinging the bat on Miley’s final pitch to them — at least those batters whose drives weren’t leaving the park with great regularity.
Miley, now back in the NL, will try to correct his recent-season problems of issuing too many walks and too many home runs when he makes his first start of the season Wednesday for the Milwaukee Brewers against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
The Brewers, winners of 10 of 14 despite being swept in a four-game series last weekend against the Chicago Cubs, will be looking to complete a three-game sweep of the Reds, who still own the majors’ worst record at 7-23.
The Brewers won 7-6 on Tuesday behind Ryan Braun’s two-run double in the fifth and solo home runs by Travis Shaw, Jesus Aguilar and Hernan Perez. The loss means the Reds still have won only one series all season.
“We’re just not quite getting over the hump,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “That’s where we are right now, that’s why we are in the standings where we are. But I know we’re getting closer and we’re going to get out of this.”
Miley wants to get out of the rut he was in the last two seasons.
He was 8-15 with a 5.61 ERA with 25 homers allowed and 93 walks issued last season with Baltimore, a year after going 7-8 with Seattle — with a combined 5.48 ERA in those two seasons. Miley had a strong spring with the Brewers, but a groin injury late in spring training forced him to the disabled list and required three minor league rehabilitation starts.
“He has gone out and, once healthy, has pitched like he did in spring training,” manager Craig Counsell said.
After rejoining the Brewers on Tuesday in Cincinnati, Miley said, “Mechanically, I feel like I’m in a good spot. A lot better than I was. Just excited to get back out and compete at this level. Hopefully, I can fill in and take off.”
Miley is 3-2 with a 3.68 ERA, and seven homers given up in 44 innings, in seven career starts against the Reds. Joey Votto is 4-for-9 with one homer and two RBIs against him.
Miley will oppose Reds right-hander Luis Castillo, who is off to a slow start with a 1-3 record and 7.85 ERA yet has pitched effectively in his career against the Brewers.
Castillo beat them 10-4 on April 16 despite allowing four earned runs in 6 2-3 innings, and is 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA — and 27 strikeouts against only six walks — in three career starts against Milwaukee. He struck out 10 during a 7-1 victory over the Brewers on Sept. 6.
Castillo has had success against the Brewers’ top hitters. Ryan Braun is 1-for-6 with a homer against him, while Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Domingo Santana and Jonathan Villar are a combined 0-for-15.
The Reds are expected to be without second baseman Scooter Gennett for a third straight night, although an MRI did not show any structural damage to his sore right throwing shoulder. Riggleman plans to give him the day off Wednesday, and the Reds are off Thursday before beginning a three-game weekend series at home against the Miami Marlins.
“I think a few days off from throwing will really help and then a nice day off (Thursday),” Gennett said. “I’ll take advantage of that and Friday I should be good to go.”