And while he has, at times, shown flashes of being a Major League-caliber starter, his last two outings -- including Thursday night's 7-4 loss to the Jays -- have provided reason for Sox management to think otherwise.
Following a Sept. 2 performance that saw the 26-year old get tagged by the Texas Rangers for six runs over a career-low 1 1/3 innings, Miller continued his woeful ways in Toronto. He surrendered five runs over five innings to put his season’s ERA at 5.58 -- and another turn in the rotation next week into severe doubt.
Manager Terry Francona mentioned prior to the game that he was willing to “see how guys bounce back from their outings” before penciling in the rotation moving forward.
If Miller keeps this up -- he’s allowed 11 runs on 12 hits and six walks over his past two starts -- he’ll be lucky to remain in the Sox pen come playoff time.
That being said, Miller encountered a tad bit of bad luck Thursday. The Blue Jays' big four-run second inning -- capped off by a J.P Arencibia three-run blast -- was the byproduct of a few soft singles and a well-timed hit-and-run.
Miller settled down after the second frame, grinding through three more innings in an attempt to semi-preserve the Red Sox bullpen -- which had tossed a collective 11 1/3 innings through the first three games of the series.
For consecutive nights the bullpen struggled to the finish line. The Sox pulled within two in the seventh, but Michael Bowden and Felix Doubront were each charged with a run to give the Jays, and their extremely shaky reliever Frank Francisco, a cushion just comfortable enough.
Despite the fact the Sox have absolutely owned Jays starter Ricky Romero over the course of his career (7.63 ERA), the left-hander kept Boston at a respectable three runs, two of which were left inherited to Casey Janssen.
Shortstop Marco Scutaro continued to haunt his former club, ending the night 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs, going 11-for-17 over the four-game series.
One oddity that should not be lost in the shuffle was Scutaro’s sacrifice bunt attempt in the first frame. Although the attempt was successful -- moving Ellsbury to third after a leadoff double -- with Miller on the mound and Scutaro being one of the team’s hottest hitters, one has to question why he wasn’t swinging the bat.
The Red Sox head to St. Petersburg on Friday to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. They remain 2 ½ games back of the American League-leading Yankees.