Miller Back on Pace

After his last start, Shelby Miller felt he had identified a mechanical issue and intended to have it corrected before he next took the mound. Based on Saturday’s performance in a 4-1 victory over Atlanta, the right-hander was back on track—allowing no earned runs, five hits, striking out seven, and walking two.

“That’s one of the best outings we’ve seen from him, definitely this year,” complimented Mike Matheny afterwards. “He had a great game plan going in. He stayed on top of the ball, worked down, and I think as the game went it made the up ball better. Probably the best breaking ball we’ve seen from him too and mixing in a harder breaking ball. He had a real nice day.”

The seven innings pitched was the longest outing of the season for Miller, who improved to 6-2 on the year.

“We’ve been working on just trying to get the same rhythm, the same mechanics down,” said Miller. “The biggest thing was trying to have command over the fastball. The curveball came along really good today as well. The cutter was good. Just an all-around good day, but at the same time there’s still room for improvement. The back-up curveball to Freddie Freeman, which could’ve been better but at the same time, he’s a good hitter and a tough out. I just trust in Yadi and trust in the defense and try and throw strikes.”

“He actually put some movement on the ball at times too, in the bottom of the zone which helped out with some ground balls,” added Matheny. “He was flying open and really losing his legs before.”

Besides staying on top of the ball and pitching downward, Miller also made an adjustment to the pacing of how he worked on the mound.

“Most of our guys, not just the starters but some of the bullpen guys, they work quick and it kind of–I don’t know if it necessarily makes a hitter uncomfortable, but it kind of throws their rhythm off a little bit,” said Miller. “Just like sometimes when Waino messes with his mechanics a little bit on purpose. Just trying to keep the hitters off-balance and I think the quicker you work, you might have a little edge on them. That was one of the main focuses today.”

The time of Saturday’s game was just 2 hours and 31 minutes.

“Without question he had a little while there—a few starts ago, where he was extremely slow,” said Matheny. “I don’t know if he was overthinking his approach every time, but he was putting his defense to sleep at times too. So that’s something that Derek Lilliquist brought to him and they’ve quickened up. I think he had a good groove and he wanted to get the ball and let it eat.”

Miller is now 12-4 with a 1.72 ERA in 21 career starts at Busch Stadium.

photo credit:  Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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