|Boston lefty Andrew Miller, pictured above with appropriate seriousness. (Getty Images)|
On Sunday night, Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller allowed a key eighth-inning double, and shortly thereafter ESPN cameras captured him laughing in the dugout with his teammates. Up in the booth, color analyst Orel Hershiser pointedly criticized Miller for, it would seem, yukking it up mere moments after failing to do his job.
Hershiser's comments were, predictably enough, relayed to Miller after the game (a 3-2 Boston victory over the Yankees), and Miller, predictably enough, took offense at the initial taking of offense. Miller explained that he was laughing because catcher Kelly Shoppach had applied some levity to the situation by making a joke about pitch selection. "That's what good teammates do," Miller told the Providence Journal.
Of Hershiser's pique, Miller went on to say: "To me, that's kind of odd, something that (Hersheiser) would point out right there. To me, that's kind of the opposite of what you want. I appreciate guys being there for me."
While I generally enjoy Hershiser's work in the booth, Miller's in the right here. Too much is made of "chemistry" and other forms of eyewash (teams of every possible collective temperament and psychic state have both succeeded gloriously and failed spectacularly over the years), and it's out of line to criticize a player for an isolated moment such as this, especially when, like Hershiser, you're not privy to the context.
It's also worth noting that Miller has been quite effective this season, as he's posted a 2.81 ERA in 25.2 IP and limited left-handed batters to a line of .138/.177/.190.