Miller earned the save against Milwaukee on Thursday, pitching two-thirds of an inning and allowing no runs on one hit while striking out two. Miller allowed an inherited runner to score when he gave up a single to the first batter he faced, but the veteran struck out the next two hitters to close out the save. The southpaw may be settling in as the Cardinals' closer as he has picked up each of the team's past two saves. That represents a noticeable commitment from St. Louis after four different pitchers had been credited with the team's previous four saves prior to Miller's run.
Miller made his 14th appearance of the season in Sunday's 2-1 win over the Pirates, which triggered his $12 million vesting option for 2021, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Miller inked a two-year, $25 million contract with St. Louis in December 2018, with the deal including a vesting option for 2021 if he made 110 appearances between the 2019 and 2020 seasons and a $2.5 million buyout if he failed to meet that threshold. Due to the 60-game 2020 campaign, Miller's option was prorated for 87 appearances, and since he already worked out of the bullpen in 73 games in 2019, the southpaw has now reached the necessary benchmark. Miller hasn't quite performed at the peak levels he reached between 2014 and 2017, but he's established himself as a key piece in a St. Louis bullpen that has been hit hard by the injury bug this season. With a perfect 3-for-3 mark in save opportunities and just one earned run allowed over his past nine outings, Miller looks to be the top option in the Cardinals' closing committee.
Miller picked up the save Sunday against the Pirates, striking out one while not allowing a baserunner in a scoreless ninth inning. With Giovanny Gallegos still working his way back from a groin injury, Miller was called upon to pitch the ninth inning with the Cardinal's leading 2-1. The veteran left-hander was up to the task, picking up his third save while tossing a drama-free frame. Gallegos figures to be activated from the injured list at some point in the next week, but Miller will remain an option to pitch the ninth inning going forward.
Miller was charged with the blown save in Sunday's loss to the Reds. He gave up one run and one walk in two-thirds of an inning. Miller was wild after replacing John Gant (groin) in the seventh inning, plunking Aristides Aquino before walking Freddy Galvis. The lefty went on to uncork a wild pitch. St. Louis recently lost Giovanny Gallegos (groin) to the IL and the veteran Miller remains in the mix for ninth-inning work, although hard-throwing righty Alex Reyes is perhaps the most deserving candidate for save chances.
Miller (shoulder), activated from the injured list earlier in the day, pitched a clean seventh inning during a win over the Cubs in the second game of a doubleheader Saturday. Manager Mike Shildt found a relatively soft landing spot for Miller's return, and the veteran southpaw was able to successfully close out the 5-1 victory on an efficient 13 pitches, nine of which he threw for strikes. Miller now has three straight scoreless appearances, and he's blanked the opposition in six of his last seven trips to the mound overall.