Eric Milton is struggling. Who knew?
"I can't say I have much confidence," he said Wednesday night after allowing the Devil Rays seven runs and eight hits in five innings. "I'm just not getting the job done."
But the Reds still have confidence in the left-handed Milton. He's scheduled to make his next start Monday at Boston.
Manager Dave Miley declined to comment in depth on that possibility Thursday afternoon, saying only that "[Milton's] not the only pitcher in the big leagues who's struggling."
Milton leads all of baseball in runs allowed (63), earned runs (58) and homers (22) allowed. He leads the National League in hits allowed (96) and is tied for the league lead in losses with seven. He also ranks among NL leaders in wild pitches with five.
In 70 innings pitched, Milton has compiled a 3-7 record and a 7.46 ERA. That's the second-highest ERA in the Majors, behind the Royals' Jose Lima (8.39) among pitchers with at least 50 innings of work.
I defended the Milton signing, in one of my rare moments of wild eyed optimism, thinking that he would have to be an upgrade over some of the Reds starters from last season. I never imagined that he would struggle this much.
If Don Gullett needed a final nail in his coffin then Milton's performance has to be it. Maybe it's entirely his fault that the Reds have had awful pitching for the past decade, maybe it's not his fault at all, I don't know. But you can't have historically bad pitching year after year and not fire your pitching coach. It's past time to try someone new.