Shelby Miller, the pitcher the Atlanta Braves acquired in the offseason Jason Heyward trade, currently has a league-high 15 losses. He has not recorded a win in 22 straight starts, a franchise record. These numbers alone would point to the conclusion of a failed trade, but that could not be the further from the truth.
Miller's last win was May 17, the day he came within one out of a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins in a two-hit shutout. That victory gave him a 5-1 won-loss record and a 1.33 earned run average. But since that day, Miller has not added to his win total despite several strong performances.
Eight times in those 22 starts, Miller allowed one or no earned runs. Half of those starts, he pitched into the seventh inning or later. During that stretch, Miller has allowed six earned runs a single time and five earned runs just one other time.
To put it simply, he has been the Braves' most dominant pitcher all year. He held a sub-3.00 ERA all season until his most recent start on Wednesday, a short 3.2 innings outing against the Toronto Blue Jays in which he gave up four earned runs. His ERA now sits at exactly 3.00.
However, two of his worst starts have come in his past three outings, possibly because the weight of pitching so well and not being able secure a win has begun to wear on him. His session with the media following the loss Wednesday night was telling. Miller had very brief, sometimes agitated answers to the questions asked by reporters.
For a comparison of just how bad his luck has been, Miller shares the league lead of 15 losses with Aaron Harang and Andrew Cashner. Harang is 5-15 thanks to a 5.04 ERA and has not been near as effective on a bad team and a year removed from a great season with Atlanta. Cashner has a 4.25 ERA.
Michael Wacha has a 2.96 ERA, just a tick below Miller's, and sits with a 16-5 record. Madison Bumgarner (18 wins) and Max Scherzer (12 wins) have ERAs of 2.91.
No one would blame Miller for letting his frustration show in the midst of such a horrendous streak. Quite frankly, most would cave in to the pressure much sooner. He has pitched well enough to win over a dozen of those 22 starts, and the Braves can only hope they at least get him another victory before the season is out.