Today's Matchup: Milwaukee (Fiers) vs Arizona (Miley)

Cesar Izturis (3) of the Milwaukee Brewers practices his Dance Dance Revolution moves while on the field.

Wade Miley (9-3, 2.19) wasn't supposed to be this good. Tyler Skaggs and Trevor Bauer were supposed to be the stars. Miley had been falling by the wayside. Sure, Miley was the 43rd overall pick in the 2008 draft. But ever since than, his career has been erratic at best. By year, he posted a 4.91 ERA in 2008, a 4.20 ERA in 2009, a 2.65 ERA in 2010, and a 4.30 ERA in 2011. Miley has always been in the not-very-good by not-very-bad range on strikeouts, walks, and hits. He never made Baseball-America's top 100 prospect list, nor was he ever rated as higher than a C+/B- prospect by John Sickels at Minor League Ball.

Miley was called up for a brief time in 2011, making seven starts and one relief appearance from the middle of August through the rest of the season. He was pretty consistent, giving up five runs in two appearances and two runs in each of the other six appearances. He finished up the year with a 4.50 ERA and a 5.08 FIP.

In 2012, Miley has been much, much better. He has made 12 starts and three relief appearances. He started out the year as a long relief man, with a 3.12 ERA in three appearances (8.2 innings). After Daniel Hudson went down with an injury in late April, the Diamondbacks elected to put Miley in the rotation rather than call up Skaggs, Bauer, or Patrick Corbin--all of whom were higher ranked prospects than Miley. Miley has not given up his rotation role, and it looks like he might be a mainstay. Since becoming a starter, he has a 2.09 ERA and just a .579 opponent OPS. On the season, he is sitting at a 2.19 ERA, a 2.89 FIP and a 3.67 xFIP. He has always been good at limiting home runs, and that has continued this year. However, the biggest change has been how few walks Miley has been allowing. After having walk rates all over the place in the minors, he has just a 1.79 BB/9. And though his 6.38 K/9 won't turn any heads, nearly 50% of balls hit against him are grounders.

Recently, he has also been pitching deep into games as he has not gone fewer than seven innings in his last five starts. He also has not allowed more than one run in his last four starts (and has given up just two walks), and in seven of his last eight starts. Miley throws four pitches: A 91 MPH four seamer (40%), a 90 MPH two seamer (32%), an 80 MPH curveball (15%), and an 81 MPH changeup (12%).

Miley has not faced any Brewer hitter at least ten times. Miley started against the Brewers on May 26, and Milwaukee hitters were fairly successful against him. In six innings, he allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks.

Opposing Miley will be Michael Fiers (2-2, 2.70). Fiers has been having a great rookie season of his own, with a 2.70 ERA and 2.43 FIP. As was the case throughout his minor league career, his K/BB ratio has been excellent. Fiers has a. 8.37 K/9 and just a 1.35 BB/9. Of his five starts, he has made three where he allowed five or fewer hits and no more than one run. He allowed four earned runs apiece in the other two starts, with eight and ten hits.

Fiers is making a very strong case to stay in the rotation when Shaun Marcum returns. Another excellent start tonight and the Brewers will certainly have to take into serious consideration the possibility of keeping Fiers as a starter and moving Marco Estrada into the bullpen or cutting Randy Wolf.

Fiers has not faced any Diamondbacks players in the majors yet.

I've not yet seen a lineup for the game. If you have, feel free to throw it in the comments.

In the bullpen:

Francisco Rodriguez pitched one inning (20 pitches) Wednesday.
John Axford last pitched on Tuesday.
Livan Hernandez pitched one inning (17 pitches) last night.
Manny Parra pitched one inning (15 pitches) last night.
Jose Veras pitched one inning (21 pitches) last night.
Tim Dillard pitched one inning (13 pitches) last night.
Kameron Loe pitched one inning (10 pitches) last night.

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