Wade Miley Woeful In MLB Debut, But Did He Tip His Pitches Early?

Wade Miley got hit pretty hard in his MLB debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He gave up five earned runs off seven hits in just four innings. Some of it could have been nerves in his first game which happened to come against the Atlanta Braves, the team he rooted for as a kid growing up in Louisiana.

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You also have to give credit to the Braves, who clearly are a good baseball team. But there was also something I noticed early in his start that made me think he was tipping his pitches.

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The first thing that caught me eye in the second and third innings was the reaction of the Braves right-handed hitters. They were laying off any off-speed pitch he threw and sat on his fast ball like they knew it was coming.

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Even when Miley hung a change-up at one point -- a 78 mph meatball right down the middle -- the hitter never flinched despite having two strikes. 

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When you look at how Miley was setting up before he pitched, something jumped out immediately. Look at where he's holding the ball -- right behind his back and in clear view of the batter. He would come set with the ball in his glove but in watching several slo-mo replays, I could clearly distinguish his grip and correctly guess the pitch before he hid the ball.

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Perhaps confirming this problem, later in the game Miley changed what he was doing. He stopped holding the ball behind his back and went straight to the glove. Unfortunately, by this point he was about 70 pitches in and down 3-0. Maybe he was lucky to "only" be down 3-0 given the amount of hard-hit balls.

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He went on to give up a few more runs but he was also getting swings-and-misses on his breaking ball that he wasn't getting early in the game.

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We can ask about this when we the D-backs get home, but we aren't likely to get an answer.

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We'll just have to watch and see when Miley gets his next start if he continues to go straight to the glove (and not show the ball behind his back to the right-handed hitters). And more importantly, we'll see if he has a better outing.

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