Tyson Miller Making MLB Debut as Game 2 Starter Monday

In need of reinforcements as they play five games in three days against the Cardinals, the Cubs are calling upon righty Tyson Miller to make his MLB debut as the starter in Monday’s nightcap. Manager David Ross indicated that Adbert Alzolay might have been in line to take the bump instead, but he took a ball off his forearm a few days ago. He could, however, still be in play for a Wednesday start.

Miller stumbled upon being promoted to the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League following a very strong run at Tennessee to open the 2019 season. After posting a 2.56 ERA with a minuscule 5.3% walk rate for the Smokies, his ERA shot to 7.58 and his walks more than doubled to 10.8% at the next level. Some attributed that to the juiced balls in play at Triple-A, but Miller wasn’t willing to use that as an excuse.

“I’m not gonna blame the different ball for why I wasn’t pitching well,” he told Cubs Insider. “I was missing a lot of spots and the hitters up there are obviously a lot better than what I’d been facing. They had a plan…they’re not chasing pitches out of the zone, which is what I was good at, trying to make my balls look like strikes and strikes look like balls.

“So just making an adjustment to the better hitters and a little bit with the ball, it’s just a different grip for me especially, like I grip the ball a certain way to try and make my balls move. So it was just a little adjustment for the first five or six starts, but finished fairly well, I think.”

Sure enough, his numbers got progressively better as he adjusted to the new ball and more savvy hitters. Ross said Miller has been throwing really well at South Bend, though the level of competition he’s facing is about to ramp up in a big way. The key for him, as he has maintained for a while now, is to be able to attack hitters and have a plan before the at-bat rather than figuring things out after.

Cubs fans who’ve not seen Miller pitch before can expect a versatile low-90’s fastball with a slider and changeup that are both excellent when located properly. For him to really take the next step and be a viable rotation moving forward, he needs to learn when and where to miss with which of his offerings. Pitches that got Double-A hitters to swing will get spit on by guys at the top level, with mistakes in the zone getting tagged.

No pressure, kid, just go out there and throw.

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