With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report for Spring Training in Jupiter, Fla. on Feb. 12, the mystery of Shelby Miller’s lack of use during the 2013 postseason continued to linger during the St. Louis Cardinals’ recent Winter Warm-Up media tour.
Miller finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting as he posted a 15-9 record in 31 starts with a 3.06 ERA, 169 strikeouts and 57 walks over 173.1 innings. The former Lion also tossed a near perfect game — retiring the final 27 batters in order, 13 on strikeouts, after giving up a leadoff single in a 3-0 home victory over the Colorado Rockies on May 10.
In a story published earlier this week by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Miller said, “I was a little upset I didn’t pitch. I kind of just put in the past. Let it be a mystery, unsolved.”
Miller worked one inning, allowing a solo home run, in the Cardinals’ Game 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates during the National League Divisional Series, and was not seen again the remainder of the postseason.
“(Michael) Wacha was doing great, Joe (Kelly) was having a killer end of the season, and Lance (Lynn) was a guy who’s been around that kind of atmosphere and pitched in that,” Miller told the Post-Dispatch. “If you’re asking if I’ve lost my role as a starter or anything like that, I don’t think so. We’re going into camp battling just like I pretty much did last year — with even more guys. We’ll see what happens.”
With a wealth of young pitchers on the Cardinals’ roster — including Miller, Wacha, Kelly, Lynn, Carlos Martinez and Tyler Lyons — the role for the Brownwood graduate this season is currently unclear, but should be sorted out before St. Louis opens the season March 31 at Cincinnati. According to the Post-Dispatch, staff ace Adam Wainwright, the runner-up for the Cy Young Award in 2013, is the only lock for the starting rotation at this point.
As for his lack of use in the postseason, Miller stated the 2013 regular season will be more of a driving force this season than his playoff snub.
“I wouldn’t say October is going to motivate me any more than the regular season did,” Miller told the Post-Dispatch. “I wish I could have pitched more. But at the same time, the season I had last year is going to push me even more. I had a good season, and I want to be that much better. I want to win 20 games next year somehow. I want to be part of winning a World Series and all the good things and all the right things you want to say. It’s tough not to get to pitch in the postseason, but we had a good thing going.”