Andrew Miller is finally going to turn into a pitcher instead of a thrower.
The numbers were ugly again for Andrew Miller, but there was beauty in a single smudge of clay near the front of the pitching mound at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.
Time after time, Miller's right foot landed on that same spot during his seven-out start in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Orioles. With the help of Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley, it appears Miller may finally have solved one of his biggest bugaboos: throwing across his body.
"The biggest adjustment was straightening out that line [to home plate]," Miller said after his spring ERA climbed to 14.73 in two outings. "That felt pretty weird for awhile."
With the Tigers, Miller's lead foot used to land perhaps 24 inches to the left of where it should. Last year, his first with the Marlins, it was still landing a good foot in the wrong direction.
"I think I'm past that stage," the lanky left-hander said. "I'm landing on the same spot every time. I think that's kind of the sign things are starting to fall into place. "
This is going to take some time, but that is what spring training is all about. It is working out the cobwebs, learning better ways to play the game, improving on already existing skills. Let's face it having the best won/lost record in the spring means nothing. Getting the players ready for the regular season means everything.
With Wiley working with Miller, and obviously Andrew is listening, he may finally start to reach his potential. But it won't come easy. What they are asking Miller to do is not natural to him and to make it "natural" and effortlessly may take all spring and the first part of season, but when it comes....and it will. We will all be happy with the results.
It's nice to have a real pitching coach. (Read into that what you will.)