JUPITER, FLA.—Roughly four months following the completion of the strangest month Shelby Miller has ever had in his baseball career he’ll take the mound today in Grapefruit League action against, who else, but the team that eliminated the Cardinals in the World Series.
After a stellar rookie campaign that saw him win 15 games and finish 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, Miller was relegated to the bullpen during the postseason. Not just that, he was the long reliever whose job was to pitch if games got out of hand either way.
Since that rarely happened, the Cards 1st round pick in 2009 threw just 14 pitches total in postseason play.
He might triple that number this afternoon against Boston. Here’s Mike Matheny’s lineup backing Miller.
1) Mark Ellis - 2B
2) Jhonny Peralta - SS
3) Matt Holliday - LF
4) Allen Craig - RF
5) Yadier Molina - C
6) Matt Adams - DH
7) Jon Jay - CF
8) Xavier Scruggs - 1B
9) Daniel Descalso - 3B
Following Miller in today’s game will be a group consisting of Randy Choate, Pat Neshek, Eric Fornataro, Sam Freeman, Lee Stoppleman, Angel Castro and Sam Gaviglio.
- Once again Mark Ellis gets the start at 2nd base for the Cardinals. Kolten Wong is off to a rough start in spring training (0-9, 4 strikeouts) and is admittedly pressing. There is no doubt Wong has a ton of talent and doesn’t have all that much to prove at the minor league level. But if the former first rounder continues to bury himself and his confidence goes by the wayside, the Cardinals could have a situation on their hands at the end of spring training. Do they keep Wong on the roster and give him at-bats hoping that he’ll find a spark and hit his stride? Do they send him back to Memphis to regain whatever confidence he lost? There are a lot of options here. But this is exactly why the Cards went out and signed Mark Ellis to a one year deal. No matter what happens with Wong, they have themselves protected at second base.
- Yadier Molina will catch for the first time in spring training. Mike Matheny had said earlier in camp that he was going to delay the All Star’s debut behind the plate because he wanted to save whatever stress he can on Molina’s knees. It was strictly DH duty, when Molina played, for the first few games but today marks the first time he’ll catch. How often he catches from here on out will be something to keep an eye on.
- Jon Jay has been a very pleasant surprise early in spring training. He’s 2-6, which may not seem like much, but the Cardinals say they are very happy with how Jay has responded to his down year last year. In addition, they went out and traded for Peter Bourjos to presumably take his starting job. Now, just a few games into spring training, we’re a long way from suggesting he take all of the center field at-bats away from Bourjos. But how well Jay has played thus far is certainly a story to pay attention to.