Rookie Bobby Millers is impressive, but Dodgers lose to Yankees

Ahead of the biggest game of his burgeoning major league career to date, Bobby Miller displayed a picture of balance Sunday afternoon at the Dodgers’ clubhouse.

Hours before he faced the New York Yankees — on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” and in front of a sold-out audience of no less than 52,000 — the right-handed rookie relaxed, seemingly unfazed by the high-pressure phase he was about to take.

He joked with his teammates in front of his stand. He was amazed Videos by Aaron Judge crashed through the bullpen wall the night before. And as Dave Roberts walked through the dressing room, he greeted the manager with a cool, confident grin.

“It’s a pleasant surprise,” Roberts later said when asked how Miller had made it as a top player. “Sometimes when you get here, the focus gets even stronger or narrower. And I think we’ve seen that with Bobby so far.”

In fact, Miller offered more of the same in his third career start Sunday night — even if the Dodgers couldn’t capitalize on it in a frustrating 4-1 loss at Chavez Ravine.

Miller threw six shutout innings against the Yankees’ strong offense (although one went without a judge after suffering a foot pain on Saturday’s catch).

He rode a dominant combination of sinkers and sliders to seven strikeouts and 14 whiffs over 86 pitches.

And despite the team’s defeat in the rubber match, he also hinted that he achieved star status by becoming only the second pitcher in the franchise since 1901 to start his MLB career with three starts of at least five innings and not began more than one abandoned run.

“It felt really good,” Miller said, noting that he threw his slider, which was his best pitch on Sunday, “harder” and “a little harder” than his previous two starts.

“I sort of leaned toward that today,” Miller said. “I didn’t really need my other two [breaking] pitches.”

New York Yankees' Anthony Volpe hits a home run in the ninth inning on Sunday against the Dodgers.

Anthony Volpe hits a two-run homer in Sunday’s ninth inning to give the New York Yankees a 4-1 lead over the Dodgers.

(Ashley Landis/Associated Press)

Unlike the other Dodger who started his career with such a stellar three-game debut — veteran Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda in 2016 — Miller was expected to come off as a lot rawer at the start.

He only reached Triple A at the end of last season, then missed the first month of this season with a shoulder problem during spring training.

So far, however, he has passed every one of his first MLB tests with flying colours.

“I feel like I was ready,” Miller said, despite his eight triple-A starts in his career. “But if I implement all my suggestions and stay left out there, I’ll show them I’m ready.”

Roberts agreed.

“Man, he’s really impressed,” said the manager. “I can’t say enough about what Bobby has done for us.”

Unfortunately for the Dodgers (35-25), Roberts had a lot more to talk about after the game after the team lost their third series of five and the tenth game of their last 18 in a game decided after Miller was eliminated in the sixth game.

Knowing he had his top three relievers fresh – Brusdar Graterol, Evan Phillips and Caleb Ferguson all had to serve in the series – Roberts relied on his bullpen down the stretch.

However, the Yankees (36-25) marked each of them with runs instead.

Penalized for an overzealous throwing error in the seventh set, Graterol set up the first score of the game with a rash, unbalanced throw after landing a one-out bunt.

Phillips faltered for the second time in 18 appearances, allowing a walk, a double and an RBI grounder early in the eighth, which tied JD Martinez’s solo home run – the Dodgers’ only offensive against Yankees starter Domingo Germán-Knocked out in half-inning early.

Ferguson scored the knockout punch early in the ninth by throwing a fastball down the middle, which Anthony Volpe fired for a two-run home run with a belly punch.

And in between, there were other small mistakes that snuffed out the Dodgers, like Miguel Vargas getting caught stealing in game five; Will Smith eliminated in game 9; and Chris Taylor slammed on base with the potential starting runners in the seventh game and scored three call strikes after he was in the game to face Yankees closer Clay Holmes in a right-on-right duel.

“Today wasn’t a good game for us,” said Roberts. “We’ve done a lot of things like giving up outs on bases and giving away some bases on the defensive side.”

However, Miller’s performance offered at least one bright spot, showing the promising potential of his future with another bright start.

“It’s probably the most adrenaline he’s ever felt, the biggest game for him [of his career]’ said Roberts. “And he just handled it so well.”

DeLuca called

Dodgers contender and Agoura High product Jonny DeLuca was called up to replace outfielder Trayce Thompson, who Roberts says will be sidelined for at least a month with a crooked left side.

DeLuca, 24, is a former 25th-round draft pick who has impressed at the Double- and Triple-A levels this season after being protected from the Rule 5 draft in the offseason.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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