Cleveland Indians left-handed reliever Andrew Miller did what he does best when he jogged to the center of the diamond in the Opening Day game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park Monday night.
In one inning of set-up work, Miller struck out two hitters and needed just 14 pitches, 10 of which were strikes, to set the Rangers down, 1-2-3, in the eighth on the way to an 8-5 win over Texas, which gave Cleveland its first Opening Day victory since 2014.
“Results are something to make you feel good and something you kind of carry forward with,” Miller said. “It doesn’t mean I threw the ball great. It doesn’t mean I threw the ball poorly. It’s nice to go out there and just get the job done.”
With the opening game tied at 5-5, Miller entered and quickly struck out former teammate Mike Napoli swinging. Then, after getting Rougned Odor, who homered in two previous at-bats, to ground out to Edwin Encarnacion at first base, Miller struck out Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy swinging to end the frame.
“It’s nice to get a win and it’s nice to give the ball to Cody, so I’ll take it,” Miller said. “No complaints on my end, but there’s a big picture. I plan on pitching 70-something times this year, so one day doesn’t mean everything, but it’s certainly nice to get off on the right start.”
In 2016, Miller was a mid-season acquisition of the Indians from the New York Yankees, and proved to be critical to the team’s playoff run.
Miller pitched in 10 games last postseason, and over 19.1 innings of work for the short-handed Indians, he struck out a Major League Baseball record 30 hitters against just five walks and 12 hits with three earned runs allowed.
And now, with the 2017 season officially underway for the defending American League champions, Miller is ready to get the season underway and chase down the ultimate prize of a World Series championship.
“We play 162 games, so it doesn’t matter,” Miller said. “This game’s probably not going to stand out at the end of the year.
“Ultimately, we have to win enough to put ourselves in the playoffs. That’s what every team’s goal is because anything can happen. We feel like we had a pretty good run in it, and hopefully, we’re better if we get back there again. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you get there, you’ve just got to win the games.”
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