Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/24/13
Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller looked at the 13-day hiatus assigned between his starts as an opportunity to clear his head and control his fastball. The midsummer break was the mental refresh button he needed, he said, but at no point during his side sessions did he feel in command of that misbehaving fastball. That didn’t happen until he needed it. Miller fired six shutout innings against the Phidelphia Phillies and carried the Cardinals aboard his fastball to a 4-1 victory Tuesday night at Busch Stadium. A sellout crowd saw the Cardinals (60-37) move to 23 games over .500 for the first time since late in the 2009 season, and saw Miller reassert the fastball that powered his early-season rise in the rotation. Miller appeared both refreshed and refocused as he defied the Phillies with a fastball that consistently sizzled in the mid-90s and, more important, he could throw for strikes. “God wanted me to throw the fastball tonight,” Miller said. “I haven’t had it before this start. Fastball wasn’t where I needed it to be. … I learned lately that you can’t live off your fastball especially when you’re not throwing it for strikes. I hadn’t been throwing strikes with much of anything.” Before a cramp in his calf muscle forced him from the game, Miller threw 85 pitches; only 23 of them were balls. He needed 58 pitches to get through four innings less than a month after throwing 51 pitches in the second inning alone against Oakland. And even then all he got was two outs. Miller (10-6) became the second Cardinals pitcher 22 or younger to win 10 games for the club in its first 100 games of a season. Paul Dean, Dizzy’s younger brother, had done it twice before, in 1934 and 1935.
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