In their final outing before the Cardinals make their decision on the 5th starter spot, Joe Kelly out pitched Shelby Miller and looks to have locked up the spot.
Kelly started the game and pitched 4 innings allowing just 3 hits and, more importantly, no walks. He gave up 1 earned run while also striking out one. His sinker was in good form as he induced 6 groundouts to just 2 flyouts.
Miller, who came on in the 5th in relief, was throwing strikes as well, but was too hittable, allowing 6 hits in his 2.2 innings pitched. He struck out 4, but allowed 3 earned runs.
I have never believed that a team should base a decision just on a player's performance in Spring Training and I don't think the Cardinals will do that in this case either.
However, it appears now that all of the factors seem to be leaning in Kelly's direction.
First, Kelly already proved himself at the major league level last year.
Second, the Cardinals can delay Miller service clock and avoid super two status by sending him to the minors to start the year.
Finally, Kelly has out pitched Miller this spring.
When you consider all of those factors, you have to believe the Cardinals will go with Kelly as the 5th starter and Miller will be sent down to Memphis to start the year.
However, I expect we will see Miller soon enough and he should be an important part of the Cards staff by the end of the year.