Though Shelby Miller’s ERA of 2.27 ranks fifth in Major League Baseball, the 2009 Brownwood graduate has been stuck on five wins since May 17 — a span of more than two months, and a dozen starts.
Miller, who earned the first All-Star game nod of his brief three-year MLB career earlier this month, is putting up numbers that rank him among the elite in the game. However, a lack of run support from the Atlanta Braves’ offense has skewed his win-loss record.
Following Saturday’s start, his 20th of the season — a 1-0 Braves loss at St. Louis — Miller’s record has slipped to 5-7. Through his first eight starts, Miller possessed a 5-1 record and was coming off a two-hit shutout in Miami, a game in which he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning.
In Saturday’s outing at St. Louis, where his professional career began, Miller worked 7.1 innings and surrendered one earned run on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks. For the season, Miller has struck out 107 batters and walked just 41.
Atlanta, with a 46-52 overall record prior to Monday’s action, averages 3.76 runs per game, which ranks 23rd out of 30 MLB teams. During Miller’s string of 12 starts without a victory, the Braves have tallied just 29 runs, an average of 2.4 per contest.
As Miller’s drought has lingered, Atlanta’s run production has gotten even worse. Over Miller’s last seven starts, the Braves have mustered a total of nine runs — 1.28 per outing — and have scored no more than three runs in any contest. Twice the Braves have been shutout, while on three occasions Atlanta produced just one run.
Through 20 starts a season ago with the Cardinals, Miller owned two more victories (7-8 record) despite an ERA that was two runs higher — 4.29. St. Louis’ run support behind Miller was a modest 3.25 runs, which is almost two full runs more than what the former Lion has received in the last month-plus.
Miller has demonstrated this season that he belongs among the conversation of elite MLB pitchers, but it may require an improved offensive output from his own team for him to reach superstar status.