An­drew Miller, LHP, In­di­ans

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

What’s up: When the Rock­ies play a two-game series at Cleve­land that be­gins Tues­day, they won’t have to worry about fac­ing Miller, the left-handed ace of the In­di­ans’ bullpen. He was placed on the 10-day dis­abled list Wed­nes­day be­cause of right-knee ten­dini­tis. Man­ager Terry Fran­cona said an MRI con­firmed the di­ag­no­sis. Fran­cona told re­porters that Miller had been both­ered by knee sore­ness “for months.”

Back­ground: Miller, with Fran­cona draw­ing up the blue­print, helped rein­vent the re­lief role. Rather than use Miller as a closer, Fran­cona used him as a multi-in­ning fire­man, call­ing him in from the bullpen when the game hung in the bal­ance, not sim­ply in the ninth in­ning. En route to be­ing named the MVP of last year’s Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Series, Miller ac­counted for five outs in Game 1, six in Game 2, four in Game 3 and eight in Game 5 — all vic­to­ries over Toronto. It was a per­for­mance for the ages: Three hits al­lowed, 14 strike­outs, no walks and one save over 7L in­nings.

Saun­ders’ take: Funny, isn’t it, that we talk about pitch­ers’ arms all the time? Shoul­der prob­lems, dead arms and el­bow pain that con­jures up warn­ings of Tommy John surgery are our main fo­cus. Some­times we for­get that the whole body is in­volved in those 95 mph fast­balls and high-torque slid­ers. But knee prob­lems made Rock­ies left­hander Jake Mcgee in­ef­fec­tive last sea­son and back is­sues messed with lefty Mike Dunn ear­lier this sea­son. Dunn only re­cently has got­ten back on track. Miller’s walk rate climbed this sum­mer as his knee pain flared. He had walked 10 bat­ters since mid­june, af­ter walk­ing only nine dur­ing the en­tire 2016 reg­u­lar sea­son. Still, his ERA is a stel­lar 1.67 — and his re­turn will be key for the In­di­ans’ post­sea­son hopes.

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