When Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Wade Miley was warming up for his start against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Sunday, he felt the same strain in his neck that he had been pitching with over the last few weeks.
Looking back, Miley said he probably should have stopped warming up. Instead, he pitched through it and allowed six runs over three innings. Even after, Miley tried to keep going, and he threw a bullpen on Friday hoping that he could make his scheduled start on Monday.
Miley wanted the twinge of pain near his collarbone to go away, but the Reds placed him on the injured list on Saturday. This season, Miley made 28 starts and had one of the best seasons of his career, posting a 3.37 ERA.
“It's been kind of slowly, gradually getting worse,” Miley said. “Just every start, I wasn't recovering, wasn't bouncing back … I can't be effective like that. I'm not only hurting myself, I'm hurting the team. I'm not going to give us a chance to win going out there like that.”
At the start of the season, Miley set the goal of making 30 starts. In 2019, Miley nearly had a career year but fell off in September due to a leg issue. In 2020, Miley made only four starts as he dealt with injuries for most of the season.
Then in 2021, Miley had one of the 10 lowest ERAs among qualifying pitchers in MLB for most of the second half of the season. He pitched his first career no-hitter, led the Reds to a win over the Milwaukee Brewers with eight scoreless innings and was tied for the team lead with 12 wins.
“I feel like I came into spring training in better conditioned shape and then we continued to create a routine – something I hadn’t really stuck with throughout my career,” Miley said. “Even through the All-Star break and later months, I felt really strong.”
Miley, 34, had a 8.35 ERA over his last four starts. It’s the same situation he dealt with before the Reds signed him in 2019 as an injury led to a poor September that bumped up his ERA.
The Reds have a team option for Miley for the 2022 season, and Miley said he’d want to stay in Cincinnati until he retires.
“Obviously, it’s a business,” Miley said. “I’ve been on seven different teams, so I understand how this works. But we love it here. We absolutely love it in Cincinnati.”
Before the 2020 season, Miley signed a two-year deal with the Reds with a team option for 2022. This offseason, Miley is the only Reds starting pitcher who could hit free agency.
Miley had his own fan club in Cincinnati, and he said he hopes he can give those fans a postseason run with the Reds in 2022.
“I want nothing more than to stay again with the guys in that clubhouse and see if (we) can overcome this last month’s struggle,” Miley said. “(I want to) give the team a chance to play postseason baseball again and give this city a chance to lean on that and enjoy that.”