OAKLAND -- After years of struggling to maintain consistency as a starting pitcher, lefty Andrew Miller has thrived in his first full year as a reliever.
Miller entered Monday night's game against the Athletics with a 2-0 record and a 1.89 ERA in 23 outings this season. Opponents are hitting .172 against him.
"One of the MVP's [of our team] thus far," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Everybody talks about our bullpen. Andrew has been able to be durable and be consistently good. He is a presence out of our bullpen, throwing 96 mph with a very good breaking ball."
How has Miller been able to make such improvements?
"He's been effective because our Triple-A guys did a fabulous job of eliminating his windup and eliminating the other motion that he had in his stretch," Valentine said. "And his efficiency of his delivery, I think, has allowed him to be very efficient in the strike zone."
Both Miller and righty reliever Vicente Padilla have done a tremendous job stranding inherited runners.
"It seems they both take a lot of pride in what they're doing and they relish those opportunities," said Valentine. "When I look them in the eye when they come into the game, obviously I'm looking to different sets. One very experienced, one not experienced at all, but I see the same message and that's, 'Give me the ball. I'm ready for the action.'"