On May 17, 2015, Shelby Miller defeated the Miami Marlins by a score of 6-0. Miller threw a complete game shutout and ran his record on the young season to 5-1. He lowered his ERA to 1.33. The All-Star, who nearly threw a no-hitter in that game has not won since.
Following that dominant outing against the Marlins, Miller has not claimed a single victory in 23 starts. He has taken 15 losses, and now leads the league with 16 total. Miller also leads the league with two shutouts. Miller has seen his ERA climb from 1.33 to 3.00. During the losing streak, he has a 3.65 ERA, but has only struggled toward the tail end. His ERA only rose above 3.00 on the season after posting an 8.36 ERA in his first three September outings. Miller has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 13 of his 23 empty starts. He has given up more than four runs only four times during the streak. Unfortunately for Miller, as was the case last night, the right-hander has received zero runs of support in 12 of the attempts to crack the win column.
“At the end of the day, where I sit with myself and where my stuff is and how my year has gone, it’s been good,” Miller told MLB.com after his most recent loss. “Obviously, I’ve had some ups and downs. You learn from those things and you take the positives and develop yourself into a better person, pitcher, and teammate.”
Miller is staying positive despite the fact that he should have anywhere from 10-12 more wins on the season. If it’s any consolation, pitchers are hardly judged by win total in this day and age. Shelby Miller has been outstanding this season and everyone knows it, despite what the record may indicate. The Braves’ ace is still far from setting the all-time record for consecutive losses. That dubious honor would go to Anthony Young, who reeled off 27 consecutive losses spanning 1992 and 1993 for the New York Mets. Young lost 13 of those games as a starter and 14 in relief. Somehow during the streak he threw 23.2 straight scoreless innings while filling in for Mets’ closer John Franco. Young also had a 27-start winless streak spanning from 1992 to 1994 with the Mets and Chicago Cubs. Despite making 13 quality starts in the process, Young’s teams went 4-23 with him on the mound.
Shelby Miller is a far better pitcher than Anthony Young ever was, but he finds himself within striking distance of equaling Young’s futility as a starting pitcher. If the baseball gods were ever going to be kind to a player, Miller is as deserving as any. Cross your fingers and pray for a Shelby Miller victory before the end of the season.