Chip Hale: D-backs’ Shelby Miller has succeeded ‘righting the ship’ mentally
Jun 21, 2016, 5:29 PM
(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller found himself on the disabled list due to an injured index finger, but manager Chip Hale didn’t duck the fact that the balky throwing hand was only part of the problem.
Admitting such things comes more easily these days.
Miller returned from the DL to pitch a season-best 6.2 innings while allowing one earned run Monday in a 3-1 win over the Phillies.
“I think when you’ve had success like he’s had at the major league level … you have to say it’s mental,” Hale told the Burns and Gambo show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “Physically, his stuff is good. He just had to get over some humps. Maybe it was coming over in the trade. He’s done a really good job of righting the ship. Obviously, the finger was a problem. That was after he’d had some issues already.
“We were lucky with the finger to be able to put him on the DL like that and give him a little break and get that 100 percent healthy and work on the mental side of it.”
Miller didn’t display much mental fragility his return to the majors.
The Phillies’ lead-off runner reached base in the first three innings. But Philadelphia only could capitalize in the second when a deep drive got over the head of center fielder Socrates Brito, who seemed to misjudge the lift on the ball.
“(Getting out of trouble is) where he had his problems out of the stretch before he went on the DL,” Hale said of his pitcher, adding that Miller’s fastball hit 97 mph on some guns. “He just went after guys. His stuff was really good yesterday. It was a hot, hot day there, humid, and he gave us everything he had.”
Miller at one point retired 14 straight batters before allowing two singles with two outs in the seventh, leading to the end of his day.
The performance held steady with a trend across the Diamondbacks’ pitching staff.
After a disappointing start to the season — the D-backs ranked 25th in the majors with a 4.90 ERA in April — the Arizona has begun June on a tear. They have compiled a 3.12 ERA so far this month, good for fourth in MLB.
“We are going to compete in this division, we are going to compete in this league because our starting pitching gets solid,” Hale said. “That’s what we figured from the start and it didn’t happen early on. It’s starting to come together. It feels good. We have to keep it going.”