Once upon a time I went to a Springfield Cardinals game (surprise). I got there early for a give away and right as I walk through the gate, low and behold, there he is. Shelby Miller is standing casually at the gate. Oblivious passer byers are ignoring him, but I know exactly who he is. I briskly prance over to the counter to buy a score card then I nervously walk up to him and ask for an autograph. That same autograph is sitting above my bed in my room. It’s a beautiful thing. Now I get to see him pitch in the big leagues and not just pitch, dominate.
Despite his last few starts, Miller is still 8-6 with a 2.79 ERA and 101 SO. He also holds a 2.1 BB/9 inning rate. Not too shabby. Shelby was RACKED in his last start, throwing over 50 pitches in the second inning. But there are reports of him looking closely at the tape and trying to figure out the problem.
Part of it is innings. He is rapidly approaching 100 innings, and might just make it tonight. He could use a rest and maybe he’ll get one at the All-Star break if he doesn’t make it. As much as I’d like to see him there, I would rather see the rest. But more power to him if he gets there.
Miller somehow went from the no. 5 starter to the no. 2 in my mind. It’s crucial he turns it around heading into the 2nd half. It’s only going to get hotter.
So what’s the issue? As usual, the stats will reveal it…
- His home/away split is dramatic, posting a 1.59 ERA at home and a 4.22 ERA on the road. He’s striking out less and walking more on the road. He’ll need to change that tonight against the Angels.
- He’s getting jumped on early- Opponents are hitting .323 of him in the 1st inning with a 4.50 ERA.
- Opponents are jumping on his fastball- They are hitting .333 of his 1st pitch of the AB, coming right after that 1st pitch fastball.
Miller is taking too long to settle in but when he does, he’s effective:
- Opponents are hitting .164 in innings 4-9.
- They are hitting.041 on an 0-2 count.
Miller can bury opponents when he works efficiently. He’s got a smooth, repeatable delivery (ehem… Lance Lynn) and I would expect him to turn it around.
It’s going to be fun watching him face Pujols but the real excitement will be tomorrow when Pujols whiffs at Waino’s curve. It’s going to be fun and be sure to tune in.