I had a hard time deciding what hurt worse in last night's game: the feeble top 5 of the Yankees batting order (1-for-27 on the night) or the blown save by Andrew Miller. Ultimately I settled on Miller. Say what you want about tough plays, bloop hits and shaky fielding, but the fact is Miller should have locked down that save last night. Bottom line.
After Luis Severino backs up his solid debut last week with a strong 6 IP, 2 ER outing on Tuesday and, after the bats break out of their recent offensive slump by slugging 2 HRs (Stephen Drew and Carlos Beltran) in regulation then scratching and clawing for two runs in the top of the 10th inning, Miller has to lock down that save.
No excuses (to be fair to Miller he’s not the type to offer any). Especially when your team is on a losing streak. That’s the responsibility that comes with someone handing you a $36MM contract to get three outs in a game.
Miller started out the year in terrific fashion, not even giving up an ER until May but, after returning from his injury in early July, he hasn’t been as dominant on the mound. His July ERA (admittedly an easily skewed stat for a closer) was 4.15, in August, he has already allowed more than a hit per inning and, on last night, he notched his first blown save of the season.
He, like the Yankees offense, is struggling at an inopportune time. It cost the Yankees mightily last night in more than one way. It allowed the Yankees A.L. East opponents to steadily creep closer (Blue Jays are just 0.5 GB with the Yankees facing them again over the weekend) and, after Miller threw his one inefficient inning, the bullpen was forced into throwing 6 extra innings while the team is in the midst of 16 straight games.
As frustrating as Tuesday’s game was, however, Miller has earned some leeway and, given the paltry showing by the Yankees top hitters, there is plenty of blame to go around. So I won’t start the cry for him to be replaced by Dellin Betances or wail about why the Yankees wouldn’t spend to bring back the home grown David Robertson (22-for-27 in save opportunities for the Chicago White Sox), Not yet.
But I’ll stand by my opinion. He should have locked down Tuesday’s game. No question. This loss is on him.