Shelby Miller picks up victory in second major league start

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It wasn’t the prettiest outing, but Shelby Miller was awarded a victory Saturday in his 2013 regular season debut against the Giants — a 6-3 Cards win.

The talented 22-year-old righty went 5 1/3 innings, yielding two earned runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out four batters, tossing 57 of his 95 pitches for strikes before giving way to the Cardinals bullpen in the sixth inning. Randy Choate finished that frame and Mitchell Boggs eventually closed it out with a clean ninth inning, earning his first save.

Miller boasts a power fastball and improving offspeed stuff. He’s been ranked a Top 15 prospect by Baseball America for the past three years and has to be considered an early NL Rookie of the Year candidate.

The Cardinals are 2-3 on the season. They’ll wrap up their weekend series with the Giants on Sunday.

Miller owns a 1.89 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 20/8 K/BB ratio through his first 19 career big league innings.

If the Tigers are sub-.500 at the end of June it’ll be fire sale time

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Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.

This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.

So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.

The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.

Must-Click Link: Remembering Eddie Grant the first major leaguer to die in combat

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As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.

The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.

Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.

Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.