It may be hard to find anyone in Los Angeles who’s not thrilled about the emergence of rookie RHP Bobby Miller — but there is one guy that comes to mind.
After yet another dazzling performance by Miller in the bright lights of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, the Dodgers rookie proved that he not only belongs at the MLB level, but that he can shut down one of the best lineups in the league.
Dodgers rookie Bobby Miller has now made 3 starts this season:— Noah Camras (@noahcamras) June 5, 2023
MLB debut vs. Braves in Atlanta: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
Home debut vs. Nationals: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
Primetime Sunday Night vs. Yankees: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K
His ERA is 1.06. He’s here to stay.
While his dominance puts the Dodgers in a difficult situation, as they try to manage the innings of someone who missed the first chunk of the year with a shoulder issue and only made four starts at Triple-A this season, it also puts the immediate future of the struggling Noah Syndergaard in jeopardy.
At this point, the Dodgers cannot justify sending Miller back down to Triple-A. He’s been the team’s best starter through the first three starts of his career, and he’s dominated a strong Yankees lineup on Sunday Night Baseball and an incredible Braves lineup on the road in Atlanta in his MLB debut.
The Dodgers sending Miller down would probably make fans as angry as they were when the team embarrassed themselves in last year’s NLDS, especially if it meant more Syndergaard starts instead.
On Tuesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced that Julio Urias is expected to make his return to the rotation on Sunday, and that he would be replacing someone rather than LA going to a six-man rotation.
Grove looked really good in his first start coming off the injured list against the Yankees outside of just two mistakes. He was throwing a career-best 98 mph, and accumulated 13 swings-and-misses and seven strikeouts across five innings.
It would be a shame for the Dodgers to send him back down after that start, especially if Syndergaard again struggles against the Reds on Wednesday.
So if it’s not Grove, and the Dodgers are deciding between Miller and Syndergaard for the final spot in the rotation, the decision could not be more obvious.
If the Dodgers go with Miller, they’re making it clear that winning is more important than anything else this season, and that they are ready to give their rookie all the tests and he develops into a future ace of this staff.
However, if they go with Syndergaard, they’re making it clear that they have ulterior motives, and are more focused on not admitting the Syndergaard contract was a mistake rather than putting the best product out on the field.
The Dodgers don’t even have to necessarily designate Syndergaard for assignment. They can try him out in the bullpen, or even put him on the phantom IL to work through some mechanics and come back in a couple weeks.
They have a multitude of options as they approach Sunday’s return for Urias, but one of them cannot be sending down Miller. The 24-year-old has passed every test so far, and he must be starting every fifth day for the Dodgers for the foreseeable future.
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