Bobby Miller continues to struggle as Dodgers are routed by Phillies


The Dodgers starting rotation is in major midseason flux.

A big part of the problem: Bobby Miller is a pitcher looking lost in the middle.

As a disastrous four-inning, nine-run start in the Dodgers’ 10-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday showed, Miller is struggling to find any balance in his game.

He’s stuck between pitches, lacking any reliable secondary weapon to couple with his upper-90s mph fastball or change-of-pace sinker.

His execution has wavered, looking too intense at some points (leading to overthrows and misses of the strike zone) and too fine at others (dialing back too much in search of better command).

And, in what started as a promising second MLB season for last year’s rookie star, his results have suffered mightily, with Miller now sporting an 8.07 ERA in seven starts this year (he missed two months in the middle of the campaign with a shoulder injury).

Miller’s struggles were particularly under the microscope Tuesday.

Before the game, the Dodgers placed staff ace Tyler Glasnow on the injured list — making Miller, just 29 starts into his career, the second-most experienced pitcher in a current rotation that includes three rookies.

Then, in the kind of test that could hint towards his October readiness, Miller labored against a potential postseason foe in the Phillies, enduring yet a couple long inning that sunk the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park.

After retiring five of his first six batters, Miller issued a two-out walk in the second inning to Brandon Marsh, who then stole second base. Three consecutive singles later, three runs were on the board.

It was the fourth time in seven starts this season Miller has yielded at least three runs in an inning.

It would not be the last of Tuesday night, either.

The Phillies — who activated star hitters Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber off the injured list Tuesday afternoon — delivered a knockout blow in the fourth.

After a leadoff single from Marsh, Rafael Marchán doubled to left, Johan Rojas looped an RBI single over the third baseman’s head and Schwarber walked to load the bases.

That brought former Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner to plate.

On a hanging first-pitch slider, he clobbered a grand slam to left field.

That made the score 8-0. Before an out was recorded in the fourth inning, the game was already all but over.

The Dodgers’ offense had plenty of its own troubles against Phillies ace Zach Wheeler, managing just three hits off the All-Star right-hander and no runs until a Cavan Biggio homer in the fifth (Wheeler left the game with back tightness at the start of the sixth).

But, given the state of the Dodgers’ banged-up pitching staff, it was Miller’s performance that carried the greatest stakes to the team’s long-term contention plans.

And, on a day their pitching depth got a little thinner, it was his continued struggles that left the biggest cause for alarm.

Kershaw update

Clayton Kershaw will resume his minor-league rehab assignment Saturday with triple A Oklahoma City. That outing will be Kershaw’s first since suffering soreness in his surgically repaired following a start with Class A Rancho Cucamonga last month. Kershaw will make at least two minor-league rehab starts in the coming weeks, Roberts said, before the team decides whether he is ready to rejoin the big-league rotation.



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