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Shelby Miller is confused about why the Cardinals didn’t use him in the playoffs

Oct 31, 2013, 1:18 PM EDT

shelby miller getty Getty Images

Shelby Miller was one of the best rookies in baseball this season, throwing 173 innings with a 3.06 ERA and 169 strikeouts while winning 15 games, but the 22-year-old right-hander was a non-factor for the Cardinals during the playoffs and appeared in just one game as a mop-up reliever.

After the Game 6 loss last night Miller was asked about his lack of a postseason role and told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

There could be something that I don’t know about going on. Maybe I’ll have some understanding in the offseason. I think it’s more they’re just looking out for me, innings-wise. I don’t feel fatigued. I don’t feel tired. I feel really good. There is probably some answer that I don’t know about. I’ll wait to hear it.

That’s a pretty diplomatic, smart answer from a 22-year-old rookie, especially in the wake of his team losing the World Series, but the Cardinals choosing not to utilize Miller at all will certainly be questioned.

General manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny have both explained that it was a workload-related issue, as they felt Miller showed signs of fatigue down the stretch. Of course, by the NLCS and World Series part of their reasoning for not using Miller was that he’d gone so long without pitching, which … well, that’s a cycle you can’t break.

  1. scapistron - Oct 31, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Even as a Sox fan I was yelling at the TV wondering why Miller wasn’t being used after Wacha.

    • dan1111 - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Not using good young pitchers now in order to slightly increase the chance that you will be able to use them in the future is the new inefficiency.

      • drewzducks - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        Stephen Strasburg 2.0

      • matt14gg - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:40 AM

        Nailed it.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Sort of like a :”If-I’m-going-to-beat-you-at-least-put-up-a-fight” kind of reaction?

  2. gostlcards5 - Oct 31, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I agree. I was expecting to see him at some point. I actually thought it would occur in Game 3, but then we had that crazy obstruction finish.

  3. mc1439 - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    I bet they would have let Miller pitch for a Klondike Bar.

  4. stlunatik - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    as a Cardinals fan I was rather disappointed to not see Miller used. Congrats Boston.

  5. Paul White - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    All of which begs the question…why, again, was he on the roster?

    • stex52 - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Yes, that is the key question, isn’t it? They had some situations where he likely could have made a huge difference. And they chose not to use him at all. I would have argued for him to start one game. But there certainly were long relief situations. And he would be deadly in a one-inning gig.

      If they had no intention, he shouldn’t have been on the roster.

    • matt14gg - Nov 1, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      What he really wants to say is “Randy Choate?….Randy Choate?!?!……I didn’t pitch, but Randy Choate did????”

  6. cdkeli - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    The reason is simple – the petty coaching staff didn’t like the guy and they were more than willing to let the team fail than permit this guy the chance of a lifetime – pathetic I know but that’s how these cretinish sports dopes operate – why do I know this? Let me introduce my college coach,,,

    • stex52 - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Possibly. But how do you know that about Matheny and Mozelli? It seems pretty stupid for a couple of guys who are not stupid.

      • bfunk1978 - Oct 31, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        Mozelli?

      • stex52 - Oct 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        Brain fart. Mozeliak.

  7. jchoclos - Oct 31, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    More I look at interference call, game 3, more I don’t think it was correct call Seems like Craig had clear path third to home. Middlebrooks legs were not in base path. And the call made by Joyce, no-hitter taker away guy, and backed up by Demuth, perfect game giver (Hallady)?

    • stex52 - Oct 31, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      That call is not in dispute. The base path, by the rulebook, is a straight line between the runner and the next base. Middlebrooks in all probability didn’t mean to be in the way, but he was.

      • stex52 - Oct 31, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        Okay, this is dumb. What happened to the guy I replied to?

      • jeffa43 - Oct 31, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Stros 4th place next year… Playoffs 2015..

    • richwizl - Nov 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM

      It was a stinker of a call and, fortunately, the series was not determined by it, as the interference non-call was in the 1975 series.

  8. jbriggs81 - Oct 31, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    If they weren’t going to use Miller, or Mujica for that matter, why wouldn’t they at least take one of those spots for somebody to come off the bench. I don’t know the Cards system all that well, but I would think they should have somebody who could be productive off the bench.

    • redbird14 - Oct 31, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      They could have put him in at shortstop, he probably would hit better than Kozma or even descalso, and maybe fielded better too

  9. straightouttavtown - Oct 31, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    If Matheny doesn’t plan to use Shelby at all, then why have him on the roster? If they want a long mop-up man who isn’t “fatigued”, they could have gone with Jake Westbrook on the roster. A lot of people questioned Farrell after game 3, but many of Matheny’s moves have been just as baffling. He trusted Carlos Martinez with the high-leveraged 8th inning, who has great stuff and a bright future mind you, but the guy has a 5.08 ERA in the regular season and no track record and little to no relief experience. Carlos almost blew the game in game 3. I understand Mujica faltered down the stretch, but they traded for John Axford, an ex-closer, but he was almost never used in high-leveraged situation. Matheny used Seth Maness instead and Maness blew the game in game 5. I actually thought he shouldn’t have pulled Lynn yet or should have gone with Axford. And Miller should have been in the rotation over Lynn to begin with.

  10. Francisco (FC) - Oct 31, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Dagnabbit, they add a report comment function but NOT an EDIT function!!!

    • yahmule - Oct 31, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Reported.

  11. docboss - Oct 31, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Redbird14 is right on. Cards are Braves of early 90’s. Good enough to compete, but not enough to overpower and win it all. Stl will take it. Congrats to Bosox. Hotter team won.

    • richwizl - Nov 1, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      The better team won, I think. Cards were lucky to win a game.

  12. perryt200 - Nov 1, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    The story the way I heard it is that Miller has already been traded to Colorado for their hitting short stop and part of the deal was him not being pitched.

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