The left-handed-hitting Brad Miller stepped into the batter’s box Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park needing a triple to complete his first career cycle. Instead, the 30-year-old swung at the first pitch he saw from Cincinnati Reds pitcher Matt Davidson — a position player throwing in a 14-1 blowout — and blasted it halfway up the right-field foul pole for his second home run of the night.
Miller finished the game going 4-for-6 with a double, two home runs and seven RBIs. This was the second multi-home run game of the season for the power-hitter utility player, who is in his first year as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He hit two home runs in three at-bats against the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 17 as well:
Of course, multi-homer games are nothing unfamiliar to Miller. He had three last September alone for the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that he played just 66 games for after joining it in June. Overall, Miller has hit multiple home runs in a staggering 13 games in his eight-season career, a number that is especially impressive when considering the fact that Miller has only played 80 or more games in a season four times. He has often been a part-time player, and has — especially in the last two seasons — produced in the limited opportunities he’s been given.
Following his most recent two-home run night, Miller is now slashing .317/.450/.619 with four home runs and an OPS of 1.069. This strong start follows a season in which he hit 13 home runs with an OPS of .894 in 79 games for the Phillies and Cleveland Indians.
Perhaps if the Phillies knew the designated hitter was coming to the National League in 2020, the team would have brought “Bamboo Brad” back for another season. At the very least, the man who once brought a bamboo plant to the team’s clubhouse for good luck would have been a very intriguing platoon bench bat.
The current backup utility infield options for the Phillies are Phil Gosselin and Neil Walker. Gosselin, a right-handed hitter, got off to an extremely hot start, which included a two-home run game as well. But Gosselin has cooled off significantly, hitting just .192 in his last nine games. The switch-hitting Walker has an OPS of .484 in 28 plate appearances on the season.
The lack of recent production from these two players certainly hasn’t held back the Phillies offense — it’s averaging 5.61 runs per game. The lineup is already extremely dangerous.
At the same time, a team can never have too many good hitters. A player that is always a threat to do damage at the plate is a useful weapon for any ballclub. And if the Phillies could do this past offseason over again knowing what they know now, maybe Miller, who signed with the Cardinals for just $2 million, would have been that player for the Phillies again in 2020.
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