Dominant. Imposing. Untouchable.
If there were proper superlatives to describe the dominating postseason performance of Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller, these might be it.
Acquired at the trade deadline, the 6’7 235-pound Miller just might be the best trade deadline acquisition in recent memory. Thanks to a pitching staff minus two starters in Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, the 94-win AL Central champions have had to rely on former AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer.
Once the Indians get out to a lead in the mid to late innings, they hand the ball to their bulldog from the bullpen in Miller.
To say he has been channeling his inner Randy Johnson so far this post-season is an understatement.
Johnson, a former five-time Cy Young winner, MLB strikeouts leader and 2001 World Series MVP–and fellow lefty–had one of the nastiest fastballs and sliders in MLB history. While not a starter like Johnson, Miller’s deceptive slider and fastball has completely befuddled two potent offenses in the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
Against both Boston and Toronto thru 7 2/3 innings, Miller has allowed three hits, zero runs, two walks and 17 strikeouts. And mind you, that’s AGAINST the likes of David Ortiz, Xander Boagerts, Dustin Pedroia, Manley Ramirez, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Troy Tulowitzki.
In helping propel the Indians to a rather surprising 2-0 lead over the free-slugging Blue Jays, Miller has all but completely shut down Toronto in striking out ten, allowing one single and one ground out for a 0.00 ERA, while facing 12 batters.
During the regular season, Miller only allowed two walks and tallied 46 strikeouts.
If an already-stout Indians bullpen, that includes Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and Dan Otero that has posted a 0.55 ERA, one run in 16 1/3 innings, is the engine to the Indians World Series hopes, then Miller is the proverbial piston that fuels its drive.
Thankfully, Miller is one their side for a change, as he is already paying immediate dividends.