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The Problem With Shelby Miller

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

St Louis Cardinals‘ starting pitcher Shelby Miller lost his fifth consecutive outing against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of their series on Friday. He said he just didn’t pitch well, but the problem goes deeper than┬áthat. Miller gave up five runs on six hits, three of them homers. Cardinal killer Pedro Alvarez hit two of those home runs. The Pirates are a good fastball-hitting team, and Miller has only that one good pitch, the fastball. It’s no surprise that he doesn’t succeed against them. The surprise is that the Cardinals have not been able to help Miller develop at least one other good pitch. They’ve known about this problem for quite a while. Back in the minors, Miller was forbidden from shaking off the catcher in an effort to force him to throw and develop other pitches. Obviously, that didn’t work. Miller did well last year, going 15-9 and finishing third for Rookie of the Year. In a May game against the Colorado Rockies, he gave up a hit to the first batter, then retired 27 in a row with 13 strike outs. Yet he spent the postseason in the bullpen, pitching only the eighth inning in the NLDS Game 2 loss. That was it. Miller seemed mystified as to why he wasn’t used more. The real mystery is why he thinks he can have continued success as a starting pitcher with only one pitch. It’s fine to have faith in your fastball, but these are professional hitters he’s facing, they figure things out. Miller and the Cardinals need to do the same. Sara Lefebvre is a St Louis Cardinals writer for Connect with her on Google.

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