Andrew Miller is 3-0 with a 3.57 earned run average in his four starts for the Red Sox since coming up from Class AAA Pawtucket. The latest win came tonight when the Sox hammered the Orioles 10-4.
It's hard to complain about any of that.
But it's also hard to figure out exactly what the Red Sox have in the tall lefty.
Miller has faced the Padres, Pirates, Astros and Orioles. The Red Sox also have averaged 9.5 runs in the games he has pitched. Miller has averaged only 5.2 innings per start despite the run support and has a WHIP of 1.59. To put that in perspective, Daisuke Matsuzaka had a WHIP of 1.47 before he went on the disabled list.
Miller has averaged just 5.1 strikeouts per nine innings, too. Given his stuff and the quality of the competition, that number should be higher.
"I think there's more in there," Terry Francona said tonight after Miller have up three runs on six hits and four walks over five innings. "I think he thinks so, too."
Given that he was essentially a castoff invited to spring training, Miller has done very well for himself. The question now is whether he can compete against teams like the Yankees and Rays over the final weeks of the season. Right now, the answer is ... maybe.
"We've won the games I've pitched. I'm certainly satisfied with that," Miller said. "Ultimately, efficiency and throwing strikes, I certainly have work to do and we'll put that work in."
As for other stuff:
• The six home runs by the Sox tonight were the most since they slugged six against the Orioles on Sept. 8, 2009 at Fenway Park.
• The back-to-back-back jobs by David Ortiz, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Josh "I'm Telling You, I Can Hit Lefties" Reddick were a first since Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew turned the trick last Aug. 13 at Texas.
• Jacoby Ellsbury is 14 of 30 (.467) with two homers and 8 RBIs in his last seven games.
• Salty has reached base in 12 straight games, his career high.
• At 52-35, the Sox are 17 games over .500 for the first time and back in first place.
• No word on the starter for Sunday. It's not going to be Alfredo Aceves, who went two perfect innings tonight. They could go with Tim Wakefield on short rest or call up Kyle Weiland. Kevin Millwood had not pitched well of late for Pawtucket, so it's probably not him.
Be sure to check out the Globe tomorrow. Dan Shaughnessy has a column on Dick Williams and we'll have complete coverage of the game.