Bobby Miller's gradually been showing Los Angeles Dodgers fans why he might be the team's next Game 1 playoff starter, but nothing was more evident than his actions on Wednesday night against the Detroit Tigers.
Not only did he hurl another quality start, but he showed some fire in an exchange with Tigers utility man (and former Dodger) Zach McKinstry. In the third inning that night, Miller drilled McKinstry with a 99 MPH fastball after missing the inside corner on him in the first inning (though McKinstry wasn't plunked in that at-bat, he struck out).
After taking one in the shoulder, McKinstry yelled out to Miller "that's twice" as he removed his gear and walked down the first base line, with Miller responding with a good old fashioned "shut the front door." Miller quickly shut it down and the game kept moving on. And McKinstry later struck out for the second time against the right-hander.
Miller was asked about the incident in the postgame and he was just about as blunt and straightforward as he was with McKinstry on the field.
"He tried to tell me that was twice that I missed inside on a pitch and hit him. Obviously it wasn't on purpose, but I'm not here to make him comfortable in the box, so that's it."- Bobby Miller
Bobby Miller's postgame response to Zach McKinstry gives Dodgers needed playoff edge
That's the kind of guy you want starting Game 1 or Game 2 of the playoff series. And it's another element of the 24-year-old's game that makes him prepared if the Dodgers need to call upon him to do just that or stave off elimination.
The Dodgers don't necessarily lack "edge," but one could argue they don't have a dominant personality that intimidates the opposition. Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman will kill you with their play, but they'll also treat you with the utmost respect and almost never get into a war of words (unless they were forced to do so). Max Muncy is the only other guy that comes to mind as a thorn in an opponents' side after his historic altercations with Madison Bumgarner. Alex Vesia was once upon a time an injection of maniacal energy on the mound, but he's struggled this year and the jolt hasn't been the same.
The Dodgers are technically the underdog this year. The Braves will likely outlast them for the remainder of the regular season, and they may not be considered favorites against AL powerhouses like the Orioles or Astros (although we'll see about that).
A less talented and disadvantaged team -- compared to previous years -- like this version of the Dodgers could use more of Miller's stern attitude in October because, honestly, that's been part of the problem with LA falling short so many times since their MLB-best run began.