As Tony LaRussa strolled onto the field last night amidst the disastrous 7th inning and lifted his left arm towards the bullpen, in the minds of many Cardinals fans, he was effectively holding up a white flag.
The mess Miguel Batista had started was being handed over to Trever Miller, hoping to stop the bleeding by executing his “speciality” – recording a single out against a lefthanded batter.
Instead, Miller plunked Roger Bernadina to load the bases, flung a wild pitch to tie the game and finished off his night with an intentional walk to load them up again. And with that, the spotlight on how ineffective Miller has been this year grew even brighter.
According to Baseball-reference.com, of the 29 appearances Miller has made this year, 19 of them have been high leverage situations including last night. In six of those outings, he has entered the game, put his batter on base and left without recording a single out. That means roughly one out of every three high leverage appearances thus far in 2011, Trever Miller has headed for the showers with the situation worse off than when he entered it.
As a comparison, in 2009 Miller had 29 high leverage appearances, 16 of which being single batter situations. Only three times did that batter reach base.
Overall, left-handed hitters are getting on base at a healthy .359 clip against Miller, a significant bump from the previous two years (’09 .200, ’10 .294).
For as much as the LaRussa regime values a good Loogy (Lefty One Out Guys), this year we have to hope that Duncan’s secret black binder has some notes in it convincing him that the specialist (Brian Tallet included) isn’t always the best option if you’ve got one out to get, even if he’s swinging from the left side.
Hey, let’s look on the bright side. At least it’s not Esteban Yan jogging in from the bullpen.