Right after the World Series ended Shelby Miller talked publicly about being confused by the Cardinals not using him throughout the playoffs, but yesterday he took a slightly different tact in discussing the issue.
In talking to reporters after finishing third in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting, Miller said:
You can’t be mad about it now. I’m not even worried about that at all. That’s in the past. I just wish we could have won. … You look at the guys we had and how they were performing. There was no reason to change anything up. That’s how I look at it. …
It was different because I didn’t expect it to go like that. But, at the same time, it’s not my decision on how I’m used. I respect everybody on the team, everybody who’s part of the organization and I especially respect Mike’s decision with anybody on the team.
Miller won 15 games with a 3.06 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 173 innings during the regular season, but appeared in just one playoff game as a mop-up man.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.