Cardinals rookie Miller makes move to bullpen
By Kevin Gorman
Published: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 10:21 p.m.
The Cardinals will put a pair of rookies on the mound for Games 3 and 4 of the NL Division Series against the Pirates at PNC Park.
What's puzzling is that neither one of them is Shelby Miller, a top candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny switched the 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander to the bullpen, despite a 15-9 record and 3.06 ERA. Joe Kelly will start Game 3 and Michael Wacha Game 4.
“It's not my call,” Miller said Saturday. “I can only do so much. I'm not upset with it because Mike is looking out for what's best for the team. They look at all the numbers, do all the deciding and they do what's best for the team.
“At the end of the day, there's nothing I can do about it except do what I can do. Right now, that's in the bullpen.”
What has been cause for controversy in St. Louis is that Matheny chose Lance Lynn over Miller for Game 2.
Miller was 10-3 with a 1.75 ERA at Busch Stadium this season. Lynn allowed three doubles and a home run in the 7-1 loss to the Pirates.
Miller performance against the Pirates this season didn't help his cause. He lost all four starts, had a 5.32 ERA and a .319 batting average against. Miller was 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in 101⁄3 innings at PNC Park.
“I couldn't tell you,” Miller said. “I'm sure the numbers had some kind of history or whatever, but that only lasts so long. I know the other four guys starting right now are unbelievable pitchers, as well, so you can't be mad about it. You can't be upset about it. Those guys, we believe in them as a team. They'll get the job done.”
Miller's move to the bullpen might have more to do with the way Wacha is pitching. Wacha didn't allow a run in three of four Septembers starts and was one out shy of tossing a no-hitter against Washington Sept. 24.
“Shelby's throwing the ball very well,” Matheny said. “But when it comes down to it, it's hard to ignore what Michael did on his last start.”
Miller doesn't turn 23 until Thursday, and the Cardinals have expressed concern over his workload this season. He has pitched 1731⁄3 innings, 56 more this season than Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole.
What Miller is worried about is learning to accept his role and learning to help the Cardinals out of the bullpen.
“That's probably the biggest adjustment,” Miller sia, “knowing there's a chance that you could pitch back-to-back days or knowing that you're not going to be out there for a long time, a short stint, because you're not starting. I guess I could long relieve if something happened. I've never been told what my role is exactly.
“Whenever it's my time to pitch, I'll be ready.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
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