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Struggles with control holding Miley back

Lefty walks four over five innings, has 46 BBs over 81 1/3 innings this season
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Wade Miley continued to struggle with deep counts and long innings on Wednesday in Toronto, and while he hasn't totally fixed those issues yet, he's at least pinpointed them.

"I've got to find a way to get the fastball over the plate early," Miley said after Baltimore's 4-0 loss to Toronto. "I've got to stop relying on 3-2 sliders, 2-0 sliders, anytime I need a strike, a slider. I mean, that gets around the league pretty quick."

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TORONTO -- Wade Miley continued to struggle with deep counts and long innings on Wednesday in Toronto, and while he hasn't totally fixed those issues yet, he's at least pinpointed them.

"I've got to find a way to get the fastball over the plate early," Miley said after Baltimore's 4-0 loss to Toronto. "I've got to stop relying on 3-2 sliders, 2-0 sliders, anytime I need a strike, a slider. I mean, that gets around the league pretty quick."

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The left-hander now leads Major League Baseball with 19 1/3 pitches per inning and hasn't pitched a full six innings in any of his last five starts. That line in the sand represents a turning point in Miley's season, as he recently owned a 2.82 ERA after throwing seven strong innings in his first start of June.

Since then, he's walked 14 batters in 20 2/3 innings and allowed five home runs. This leaves Miley with 46 walks over 81 1/3 innings this season, which is well above his career-average walk rate, and the veteran believes part of the solution is his pacing.

"I think I got a little quick through my delivery at times," Miley said. "As far as getting the ball and getting back on the mound, that was fine. It was just my delivery, the tempo with my delivery got a bit quick. I was rushing down the slope."

This showed with Miley's work lower in the strike zone throughout the game. While he wasn't wild by any means, his fastball struggled to find the edge at times. He felt better about his breaking and off-speed pitches however, regardless of the result.

"I thought I had pretty decent off-speed stuff from the get-go," said Miley. "I wasn't landing it for strikes early, but I liked the action on it. Obviously the first curveball to Bautista spun out, but I didn't think the breaking ball was too bad from start to finish."

These short outings are particularly difficult coming from a Baltimore rotation that has thrown fewer innings than any other in the American League and owns the highest ERA in that group by a comfortable margin. In the series finale on Thursday, Baltimore's bullpen could be tested again as right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez enters with a 7.26 ERA.

"Ubaldo's going to need to keep us in the game and keep us close so we can take advantage of that," said manager Buck Showalter, "but we're going to have to score some runs."

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Baltimore Orioles, Wade Miley