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St. Louis Cardinals to Give Shelby Miller Extra Rest

July 19th, 2014 at 6:33 PM
By Christopher L Ballard

The St. Louis Cardinals are pulling second year pitcher, Shelby Miller, from the rotation to add him to their bullpen. Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny told MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch that the team will turn to a four man pitching rotation and have Shelby Miller come out of the bullpen when they need him. Matheny didn’t say how long this move would last for, but the Cardinals’ schedule could let them ride out a four man rotation until late August. In the mean time, Miller will try to rest up and fine tune his pitches and his command.

Miller, who finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year last season, has had some rough times in 2014. The sophomore starter has a 4.29 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP this season to go along with a terrible 73:54 strikeout to walk ratio. Miller has been the loser in six out of his last seven decisions as well.

The biggest and most noticeable problem for Miller is his inability to throw strikes this season. Even when he puts up good numbers during a start, he always has a high pitch count and is lucky to get out of the sixth inning. At times, it is hard to watch as the young righty struggles to locate the strike zone. While he has still had some good, solid starts for the Cards, Miller’s numbers don’t match what the Cardinals were hoping for as their offense struggled early on.

The two numbers that stick out are his walk rates and innings pitched for his career. Last year, Miller dazzled for the majority of the season posting a 15-9 record with a 3.06 ERA and 1.2 WHIP in 173.1 innings pitched. The 173.1 innings was the highest mark in his career as he’d never gone more than 139.2 in a season and is currently at 109 innings for 2014. After last years great campaign the Cardinals didn’t use Miller in the postseason as he was showing signs of wear and tear. It looks like the Cardinals are trying a similar approach by resting him mid-way through the season so he will be available and hopefully better towards the end of the season.

If Shelby Miller can just regain his control, he will be the young weapon Cardinal Nation is used to seeing. After allowing just 57 walks last year, Miller has 54 walks already during the 2014 season. His walk rate this year, at 4.5 walks per nine innings pitched, is much worse than last year when it was at an even 3.0 per nine innings. The high walk count makes it inevitable for the young pitcher to struggle, making a lot of his innings more stressful than necessary.

The St. Louis Cardinals hope that some time off from starting rotation will help their young pitcher right the ship before September arrives. Miller will be in the bullpen for at least a couple weeks or so, maybe close to a month. It just all depends on how the rest of the team performs, if any injuries arise, and if Miller shows the coaching staff he has fixed his problems. Make no mistake, this seems to be a bump in the road for the talented Shelby Miller, as he has pitched well for the Cardinals in his young career. The young righty should still be seen as part of the three-headed monster of the future, combined with Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez in the starting rotation.

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