Game 86, Tigers at Mariners
Miller vs Hernandez, 7:05 pm.
Happy Felix Day. No, really, this might be the happiest Felix Day in a long time, because I can finally hang up the Mix Your Pitches soapbox and just enjoy the ballgame.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the kid the Tigers are throwing tonight, well, you could say I’m something of a fan. I wrote this report in March of 2006, and I then spent the next few months trying to convince anyone who would listen that Andrew Miller was a left-handed Roy Halladay, and clearly the best pitcher in the draft. The Mariners picked 5th overall and selected Brandon Morrow. The Tigers then proceeded to take Miller with the next pick. (There were extenuating circumstances surrounding the draft, covered here, so I’m not criticizing the scouting department for not selecting Miller.)
Of course, Morrow has since been turned into Matt Thornton 2.0, a hard-throwing reliever with no command or secondary pitches. Meanwhile, despite pitching issues of their own, the Tigers refused to alter Miller’s development plan, having him begin the year in A-ball while refining his overall game until he was ready to step into their rotation. A month ago, they made the call, and Miller’s solidified himself as a key member of their pitching staff, and a guy who will be counted on to start for them in October should the Tigers make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Brandon Morrow’s lost his job as the right-handed setup man to Chris Reitsma and Sean Green, and will now pitch the middle innings when the ability to throw the ball over the plate is not required.
Had some different decisions been made, the two guys taking the hill tonight could both be Mariners – the 21-year-old right-handed prodigy and the 23-year-old left-handed phenom. Andrew Miller could have been starting for the Mariners tomorrow night. On the brightside, if we need someone to come in and issue an intentional walk, we’re set for the next 15 years, so that worked out well too.
But you know what? As much as I like Andrew Miller, he’s not Felix. Let’s hope the ace the Mariners actually do have shows up the rookie tonight.