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Cardinals leave Shelby Miller out of NLDS rotation

Colorado Rockies v St. Louis Cardinals

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 10: Starter Shelby Miller #40 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Busch Stadium on May 10, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. Miller threw a one-hit, shut-out game to help the Cardinals beat the Rockies 3-0. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller was one of the best starters in the National League this season, posting a 3.06 ERA in 31 starts while striking out 169 batters in 173 innings and holding opponents to a .234 batting average.

And yet the Cardinals just announced that he’ll spend the entire NLDS in the bullpen, with St. Louis choosing Lance Lynn for Game 2, Joe Kelly for Game 3 and Michael Wacha for Game 4.

Miller is definitely one of the Cardinals’ top four starters and has the raw stuff to dominate any lineup, but he showed some signs of wearing down in September and his 5.32 ERA in four regular season starts against the Pirates no doubt played a part in manager Mike Matheny’s decision. Miller also has some bullpen experience, so Matheny could turn to him for high-leverage spots in the late innings with demoted closer Edward Mujica no longer reliable. Still, not giving him an NLDS start is definitely a bold/questionable move.

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