Why Andrew Miller Should be Used in the Later Innings

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Follow the author: @thebigfistbabe5

I first want to say that the best sport in America is finally back and right around the corner! The Indians made an impactful move during the 2016 Winter Meetings by getting a big bat in Edwin Encarnacion. Other than that, the Tribe made a couple of under the radar signings like bringing in an experienced outfielder, Austin Jackson. The re-signing of Brandon Guyer will help the bench. The Indians have most of their pieces coming back from last year’s squad and having Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar coming back from injuries will only make this team more deadly come October.

My main focus though going into the 2017 season is how Tito will manage the bullpen. The main guy to focus on is Andrew Miller. As most of you know, Miller was a vital piece to the Indians going to the World Series last year by trading for him from the Yankees in July 2016. While he was with the Yankees, he was used as the Yankees primary closer in 2015 and the 8th inning man in 2016. When he came over to the Indians, Francona used him in different situations during the season but mostly in the playoffs.

Now, in my opinion, I think the World Series could have gone a lot differently in the Indians’ favor if Miller was not used in the middle innings. I understand that you want one of your best pitchers to face your toughest situations, but why not save him for the later innings? Miller in my mind is a top three reliever in baseball, but he is not a person you want to use early in a game.

Now I know the regular season is a different animal, but you need consistency when bringing guys in. One reason Miller should be strictly the 8th inning guy or the team’s closer is because the Indians bullpen is experienced. The Tribe can save Miller during the regular season and especially in the postseason for the later innings because you have guys like Boone Logan, Dan Otero, Zach McAllister and Brian Shaw to anchor down the middle innings. Your bullpen pitchers should know their roles and develop consistency during the regular season.

Another reason Miller should be used primarily in the later innings is because his WHIP (walks/hit per innings pitched) was 0.69 last season. This stat should be looked at more instead of ERA but anyway, he had 123 strikeouts in 74.1 innings during the 2016 campaign. Ever since he dropped his leg kick into a straight stride to home plate, he has developed one of the best sliders in the game today. He makes grown men look lost at the plate because you have to respect his slider and then he drops a 96 mph fastball by you. He has been consistently improving over the past four years and developed himself as to a top three reliever if not the best reliever in baseball. He is deadly facing both righties and lefties and can pitch multiple innings if need be. Most of you saw that during his short time with the innings in 2016. I hope that Francona uses him later in games, especially when playoff time rolls around.

Follow the author: @thebigfistbabe5

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated

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