Miller adjusting to bullpen work, staying nimble in routine

Miller adjusting to bullpen work, staying nimble in routine

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Miller adjusting to bullpen work, staying nimble in routine

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by JJ Bailey / BaseballStL

KMOV.com

Posted on October 8, 2013 at 10:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 8 at 10:46 PM

(BaseballStL) -- Shelby Miller is a 15-game winner. In his first season as a major league starter, he pitched 173.1 innings, faced 722 batters, and allowed 59 earned runs.

He won a spot in the rotation after a hotly-contested spring training race with Joe Kelly. The latter has now made a postseason start, while Miller has yet to get the game ball. 

Most of that has been match ups. Playing Pittsburgh is about as unfavorable as it gets for Miller, as the Pirates posted a .319 batting average against him with 29 hits and 15 runs scored in four games this season.

Still, Miller has held the second spot in the rotation for most of 2013 and his recent move to the bullpen is a far cry from action every five days. 

"I'm adjusting to it. It's different," he said in the clubhouse Tuesday. "I don't know exactly what my role is right now. I know when they call me in there I just have to be ready to go."

Miller has been called once already, throwing the eighth inning in Game 2. He gave up a run in the form of a Starling Marte homer, though he could be forgiven since he hasn't worked out of the pen in a year. 

"It's kind of weird, you never know what day you're going to pitch," Miller said. "I'm just trying to keep it as simple as possible."

By which, Miller means he is keeping his routine as streamlined as can be managed. Without the regular schedule a starter enjoys, Miller must now keep himself ready to pitch in any situation. 

To do that, he says he is keeping his day-to-day workouts minimal and repeatable. No simulated game action, not hard exertion, just enough to keep himself going. 

"I just feel like I haven't thrown in forever," he said. However, despite his hiatus, Miller says he feels like he could flip it back on at any time. 

"I think one bullpen [session] would get me back where I want to be," he said. 

For at least one more day, he will be a reliever. Adam Wainwright takes the mound Wednesday in a series-deciding Game 5, and Mike Matheny has said both Miller and Lance Lynn will be available out of the pen. 

Were the Cardinals to advance, they would play the Los Angeles Dodgers. Miller has made two starts against the club, though after a three-run, five-inning performance in May, he was knocked out of the August rematch when the first batter of the game lined a ball off his elbow. 

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JJ Bailey covers the Cardinals for KMOV.com and the BaseballStL app. Follow him on twitter @TheJJBailey and on @baseballstl_app for updates. 

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