According to Fox Sports Midwest, Shelby Miller the Cardinals may be eying an innings limit of around 180 for their young pitcher. This sounds about right as Miller's pitched only about 150 innings last year and a 30 innings jump is reasonable.
However, how might this limit impact the Cardinals and their young gun down the stretch?
Currently, Miller is on pace for about 185 innings, which is right in line with the 180 target. But does that limit include the postseason?
Miller doesn't think so, as he was quoted (by Fox) as saying "I'm trying to get to 180 or so this year not including whatever we do in the postseason". However, the Cardinals may have other ideas.
The Cards are already doing what they can to limit his innings. They shifted the rotation prior to the All Star break, to effectively skip one of Miller's turns and then, with the off days after the break, they skipped him again so that he ended up with 13 days off in between starts.
The Cardinals will try to give Miller extra rest where they can, but they are currently in a stretch of 37 games in 37 days (including one double-header), with only one off day, so rest will be limited.
The main issue is this: if Miller reaches 180 innings before the end of the season, will the Cardinals shut him down before the playoffs or will they allow him to keep pitching?
If they shut him down, we get into another Stephen Strasburg situation, where the team heads into the playoffs without one of their best pitchers and we all know how that turned out for the Nationals last year.
On the other hand, if the Cardinals truly want to protect Miller, are they going to let him pitch upwards of 20+ innings in the post season? If not, what are their alternatives? Throw Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha into the fire? Probably not and this is likely the main reason the Cards are looking for a veteran arm, like Jake Peavy, for their rotation.
The Cardinals have some young arms and they are doing their best to protect them, but as the Nats are learning this year, a chance at the World Series title doesn't come along every year.
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