Cardinals officials have said that Miller, 23, is not in danger of eclipsing any innings limit they placed on his young shoulder and that he is not injured.Uhh, yeah. right.
Yes, Lance Lynn won game 4 against the Dodgers, contra my desire to see Shelby Miller. That doesn't negate the issue of what the heck is Miller then doing on the roster at all, if the innings count is a real worry?
I mean, the Cards themselves discussed it this year, per Derrick Gould. at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which means, as manager has shown, like Stephen Strasburg, there was apparently some sort of "shutdown" talk, even if the Cards, unlike the Nationals, didn't do this loudly and publicly.. And, at 173.1, he's near that top edge of 180.
Assuming Miller is THAT gassed or the arm is that much of a worry, even if Cards' management said the innings limit was "flexible," then we're at more second-guessing in Game 5. Mike Matheny could have pinch-hit for Kelly in the top of the 5th — IF Miller were available for long relief. But, he apparently ain't. So, again, why's he on the roster? Even if you didn't want to start Jake Westbrook in Game 4, he still would have been available for long relief as needed.
I won't second-guess Matheny as much for pitching Edward Mujica, and to four batters, too. But, I will second-guess to the degree this demonstrates Miller is more than "gassed," basically. Again, pull him off the roster. (Hopefully, we get to the World Series and you finally realize you're fooling nobody.) And, given the Cards' nice but falling-short rally in the ninth, second guessing is in order, at some level.
At the same time, this is another opportunity to second-guess Don Mattingly, too. Knowing that the Cards have struggled against lefties all year, why is J.P. Howell the only lefty reliever on the Dodger roster this round?
Paco Rodriguez did a good job in limited opportunity this year as a reliever. Why ain't he there?
Meanwhile, with Game 5 in the Dodger bag, yes, the Cards could blow a 3-1 LCS lead the second year in a row. True, the Birds have the pleasantly astounding Michael Wacha for Game 6 and Adam Wainwright for Game 7 if needed.
On the other hand, the Dodgers bring up Clayton Kershaw — not just the likely National League Cy Young winner, but a lefty — in Game 6. Followed by Hyun-jin Ryu, winner of Game 3, and a lefty, in Game 7 if we go there.
So, while I hope the Cards can win on Friday, or on Saturday, if not, none of this is in the bag.