A season-worst 18 hits surrendered. A tie for most runs scored by an opponent this year. A 3 hour and 47 minute dirge of a game that finally, mercifully ended with the St. Louis Cardinals losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-4 at Busch Stadium on Wednesday night.
All of that will be forgotten if what an optimistic, yet sore Shelby Miller says is true.
“It feels good,” he said. “I mean, it doesn’t feel good. But it’s better than it could be.”
“It got me right in between two major bones on my arm, so I lucked out there. I feel like I’m not going to be out too long. I plan on hopefully making my next start.”
Miller, among the best in the National League with a 2.89 ERA, started Wednesday’s game — barely. Dodgers leadoff man Carl Crawford put a healthy swing on Miller’s second pitch, a 1-0 fastball, and ricocheted the ball off Miller’s right elbow and into the outfield for a double. Miller left the game with a right elbow contusion.
“It’s scary,” he said after the game. “No pitcher really likes come-backers. Especially coming off your throwing arm. At first, you have no feeling in your arm when it happens. You don’t know what to expect. But we came back in here and got good results.”
Miller’s X-rays, conducted in the bowels of Busch Stadium, showed no signs of bone or structural damage. He iced, stretched, then performed a series of pitching motions that he said went well.
“It’s too early to tell,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said when asked if the 22-year-old will likely see the DL. “We talked to the trainers. They won’t know really enough until the next couple of days. But once again, it was great news there was no structural damage bone-wise.”
Meanwhile, Jake Westbrook, who was supposed to start against the Dodgers on Thursday, took the mound after reliever Michael Blazek gave him a chance to warm up. Westbrook struggled in the unusual relief appearance, surrendering six runs in the second inning before three relievers filled in behind him, a procession that ended with an unlikely candidate, backup catcher Rob Johnson, who finished the top of the ninth.
The scrambling caused by Crawford’s line drive will carry over into Thursday and beyond. It required the Cardinals to call up Carlos Martinez from Triple-A Memphis. The 21-year-old right-hander will start at Busch for the first time Thursday instead of Westbrook. And an additional pitcher could also be added at some point before the game.
This is far from ideal for a Cardinals team that has now lost 10 of its last 15 games. But things could have been much worse. One look at Miller’s elbow, which holds a baseball-seam-shaped bruise, is proof a very important pitcher escaped a scare.
“Relief,” Miller said. “Nothing serious happened.”
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