“If you look back, we were in kind of a rut in ’18,” said Miley. “They made a trade for Moose (Moustakas). From the moment he walked into our clubhouse, from the energy he brings, the way he goes about his every day, the way he goes about his work and his craft. . .people feed off that, just watching what he does.
“Within a couple of days (after his arrival), the vocal leader that he is, being able to pick people up with his words to encourage guys, well, the next thing you know we’re winning six of seven and seven of eight.”
The Brewers eventually beat the Chicago Cubs by one game to win the National League Central. When he wasn’t on the injured list, Miley started 16 games and was 5-2 with a 2.75 earned run average.
Moustakas played 54 games for the Brewers and hit nine home runs and drive in 33, but his drive in the clubhouse was as important as any home run or any RBI.
“We were two games out late in the season and we thought we were fighting for a wild card,” he said. “We ended up winning the division and I credit Moose a lot for coming in and turning that thing around for us.”
“I was hurt most of the first half of that 2018 season,” said Miley. “We went into that year with our backs to the wall, nobody thought that team was going to be very good.
“Then it was, ‘bam,’ the next thing you knew we were playing Game Seven of the NLCS,” he added. “I’m not going to say that’s where we’re headed, but that’s our goal is to go as far as we can.”
When Miley pitches, his defense knows not to scratch their ear, hitch up their pants or turn the back on home plate. They might get hit in the head with a line drive.
Miley works at warp speed. Sometimes it seems as if he is in his wind-up as he catches the return throw from the catcher.
“That’s something that started my freshman year in college,” he said. “Our coach (at Southeastern Louisiana University) was huge at keeping a fast pace in the game. Our defense played better, kept guys on their toes.
“I remember this rule we had my freshman year that we were not allowed to turn our back on the catcher,” said Miley. “That’s what I’ve been doing since.”
Nobody appreciates a non-fidgeter on the mound more than the defense behind him, and that includes Reds manager David Bell, to an extent.
“We do like the pace that Wade works at because it works for him,” said Bell. “It is nice, but having a pace that works for each guy is the most important thing.
In other words, Bell isn’t going to tell the rest of his staff, “Hey, you see what Wade is doing? Get the lead out.”
Said Bell, “I think even Wade can get rushed as much as he likes to work fast. Sometimes he goes a little too fast. Wade is a bit of an outlier. He works really, really fast.”
And as long as that earned run average hovers at zero, nobody is going to speed him up.