Indians reliever chosen as MVP

TORONTO (AP) — MVP: Most Versatile Pitcher.

The humble workhorse in a wipeout bullpen, Andrew Miller was selected AL Championship Series MVP after his latest splendid performance in relief helped the Cleveland Indians win their first pennant since 1997.

Miller tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory Wednesday over Toronto, capping a five-game series in which the lanky left-hander overpowered the Blue Jays.

He had one strikeout in Game 5 and finished the series with 14 — an ALCS record for a reliever. Miller gave up three hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Blue Jays and earned a save in Game 3.

Now, he and the Indians are on to the World Series for the sixth time — looking for their first championship since 1948.

Miller was acquired from the New York Yankees for a package of prospects in a July 31 trade, and Cleveland had an interesting idea of how to use him. Rather than restricting him to a closer role or using him only in the eighth inning, the Indians have been flexible with Miller — especially in the postseason.

Whenever his team has a lead in the middle innings, the 6-foot-7 Miller begins looming large in the bullpen.

Drafted sixth overall by Detroit out of North Carolina in 2006, Miller was part of the blockbuster deal that sent Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Tigers after the 2007 season. Miller made 66 starts in the majors but never fulfilled his promise until switching to the bullpen. His first full season as a reliever — with Boston in 2012 — provided a hint of what was possible.

Miller posted a 3.35 ERA in 53 appearances that year, and the following season he overpowered hitters with 48 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings.

COMMENTS