The Red Sox will look to bounce back from Monday’s loss to the White Sox when they send Wade Miley to the bump against Jeff Samardzija on Tuesday night.
Miley has quickly asserted himself as the Red Sox‘ most consistent pitcher in the wake of Clay Buchholz‘s injury. Since the All-Star break, he’s been downright dominant, tossing 13 innings while giving up just one run on five hits. Opponents are slashing a pitiful .119/.245/.238 over this stretch.
In his most recent start last Thursday against the Astros, Miley went six innings, allowing five walks and four hits but holding Houston to one run, a solo homer off the bat of Marwin Gonzalez. Miley wasn’t particularly economical Thursday, as he tossed 107 pitches and just 55 of them were for strikes, but he logged a season-high 16 swinging strikes. Though he staved off disaster, Miley admitted the start could have gone even better.
“I felt all right,” he said after the game, a 5-4 Red Sox loss. “I didn’t have the command I would have hoped you have. But I stuck with Hani [catcher Ryan Hanigan] and we made a lot of pitches, offspeed pitches, and got through it.”
For the season, Miley is 8-8 with a 4.33 ERA. The southpaw is 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA since his dugout outburst on June 11 and has lowered his ERA by a half-run over that span as well. He may have career lows in walks per nine (3.5) and strikeouts per nine (6.5), but he has found a way to adapt of late.
Miley’s counterpart on Tuesday will be Samardzija, who is smack in the middle of the trade winds that are swirling before Friday’s deadline. The right-hander is 7-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 2015 after being acquired during the offseason by the White Sox. He is only signed through this season, however, making him a moveable asset that is drawing interest from multiple parties.
Samardzija has long been seen as a pitcher with electric stuff who has yet to put it all together. He has a fastball that can touch 98 mph on the radar gun and a biting slider that has drawn 24 of his 108 whiffs on the year. Last season Samardzija showed flashes of his potential, accruing a 2.99 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP between stints with the Cubs and Athletics.
Over his last seven starts, Samardzija has thrived, going 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA. In six of these starts, he’s drawn 10 or more strikes swinging. During his most recent start against the Indians last Thursday, he gave up one run, needing just 99 pitches to wade through eight innings of work.
“He throws his fastball, angles his fastball really well,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Samardzija. “And he had enough to beat us with it, whether he got it by us with a miss or maybe just where guys didn’t get quite extended. He got a lead and did what you’re supposed to — came after guys and threw strikes.”
Encouragingly for the Red Sox, Samardzija has been far superior at home than on the road. This season, he maintains a 4.84 ERA and a .278/.327/.447 opponents’ slash line on the road. For the Red Sox, they will get a chance to scout a pitcher they may have their eye on come free agency.
White Sox vs. Miley (LHP)
Adam LaRoche (10 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.200 OBP/.000 SLG
Emilio Bonifacio (6): .000/.167/.000, 4 strikeouts
Jose Abreu (3): .000/.000/.000, 2 strikeouts
Gordon Beckham (3): .333/.333/.333
Alexei Ramirez (3): .000/.000/.000
Geovany Soto (3): .000/.333/.000
Melky Cabrera is 0-for-2 against Miley.
Tyler Flowers is 0-for-2 against Miley.
No other White Sox have faced Miley.
Red Sox vs. Samardzija (RHP)
Hanley Ramirez (19): .421/.421/.526, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, 7 strikeouts
Alejandro De Aza (15): .143/.200/.143
Ryan Hanigan (10): .200/.200/.200
Shane Victorino (8): .286/.375/1.000, 1 triple, 1 HR, 2 RBIs
Pablo Sandoval (7): .429/.429/.857, 1 HR, 4 RBIs
Brock Holt (4): .250/.250/.250
David Ortiz (4): 1.000/1.000/2.000, 2 doubles, 2 walks
No other Red Sox have faced Samardzija.