Alex Rodriguez Talks Former Yankees Teammate Andrew Miller
Say what you will about Alex Rodriguez’s time spent as a member of the Yankees, but playing 22 seasons with some of the games best makes him a credible source on teammates.
Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Ivan Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr–the list of ex-teammates for A-Rod is a venerable list of who’s who of Baseball Hall of Fame enshrinees. That’s precisely the reason why when the former Yankees 3B/DH speaks about how special Andrew Miller is, you’re forced to take listen.
“He was as good a teammate as I’ve ever had,” A-Rod said Wednesday during a radio interview on ESPN New York’s Michael Kay Show. “The interesting thing is for a guy who’s a closer or a setup guy, to have that loud of voice in our clubhouse and impact our young players as much as he did is truly remarkable.”
While speaking with Michael Kay of ESPN New York 98.7, Rodriguez gushed about the first time he knew Miller was more than just your run of the mill relief pitcher.
“There was one flight where we flying from New York to the West Coast and it 3 o’clock in the morning and everybody, including me, was sleeping because everyone was tired,” A-Rod said. “And I got up to go to the restroom and here [Miller] is with his video and his iPad taking notes and doing scouting reports. To me, that’s when I knew this guy was at another level.”
During Game 1 of this year’s World Series, Miller threw a season-high 46 pitches (the most he’s thrown since becoming a full-time reliever in 2012). Even though he was able to pick up six huge outs to lift the Indians to that Game 1 win, Miller encountered enough resistance from the Cubs to remind the baseball world he’s still human.
“Once [Miller] got out of the bases loaded with no outs jam, I thought Tito would pull him,” Rodriguez said. “I thought he left all his bullets in an empty tank there.”
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Kay went on to ask A-Rod if he thought the Cubs had game planned according to Miller’s strengths–to lay off those nasty sliders that often end up out of the strike zone.
“I think when you look at Andrew Miller, if he’s on his game it doesn’t matter what game plan (you have) … you’re not going to hit him. He’s unhittable. I’ve often said he’s the best reliever in all of baseball.”
As we already know, Francona didn’t need to call on Miller in Game 2, due to the fact that the Indians were behind the eight ball for the duration of the contest.
On three days rest, the lanky lefty from Florida should be fully prepared to pitch multiple innings if needed in Game 3 on Friday. I’m just curious to see if Miller’s extensive workload this Postseason has any repercussions on his ability to consistently get out batters come next season.
Other News Regarding Andrew Miller
I wonder what A-Rod think’s about Miller’s accusation that former manager Joe Girardi mismanaged the Yankees’ bullpen this past season?
As reported by Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Miller said, “I know when Chapman came back to us for the Yankees this year, Dellin [Betances] and I were kind of up in the air about what order we would pitch. And in some instances, it created a mess because we were both warming up next to each other.
“I think all managers, Joe, [Francona] … I’ve been lucky to have some that really handle the bullpen well. But you hate to have two guys warming up at the same time. It seems wasteful in a sense.”
While it might be a little low brow to demean a manager once you’re already out the door, it’s hard to argue with Miller that Girardi poorly handled the timing and overall efficiency of one of the most important parts of his team–the ‘pen.
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Perhaps this is just Miller’s way of reiterating his stance of never wanting to leave New York, which would have only happened had the Yankees stayed in contention–which might have happened if Girardi had done some things differently.