CINCINNATI -- Manager Mike Matheny said the scheduling wasn't intentional, but in lining up Shelby Miller's season debut on Friday, he gives the 23-year-old Miller an immediate chance to face the team that gave him fits a year ago -- the Pirates.
Miller's start in Pittsburgh-- one the Cardinals kept from happening in the National League Division Series -- comes at a ballpark where he posted a 6.10 ERA in two starts last year. Overall, Miller went 0-4 with a 5.32 ERA against Pittsburgh, which batted .319 off of him. He lost only five of his other 27 season starts.
"I just made mistakes against them," Miller recalled. "It's not really that I pitched badly. It just didn't go the way I wanted it to. … I'm not worried about who I face first. If it was Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Miami Marlins, it's not a big deal to me. I'm just happy to get back out there and start pitching in games that count and try to help the team win."
The Cardinals had some flexibility in ordering their rotation out of Spring Training and could have opted to start Miller against the Reds instead. But the Cardinals, believing that last season's struggles will eventually be seen as an outlier, didn't see the necessity to tweak the schedule as such.
"It was really at the point of trying not to get too creative as much as trusting that these guys are making some of the adjustments that they need to make," Matheny said. "I think this short representation of what he's done against a particular team, it doesn't necessarily line up that he shouldn't do better. And we're not going to run away from teams at this point with limited amount of exposure."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.