Indians turn to Miller early for ALDS Game 1 win

Mike Vorkunov, Special for USA TODAY Sports
2:05 a.m. EDT October 7, 2016

CLEVELAND — As Terry Francona stood on the mound at Progressive Field Thursday night, waiting for Andrew Miller to take the ball in the fifth inning, an orthodoxy of bullpen usage was just waiting to crumble. Already, this postseason has claimed one victim in baseball’s unending pursuit to tether itself to its own self-perpetuating conventional wisdom. For a sport that has introduced analytics into the mainstream and created an entire generation of front offices reared on data and exploiting the numbing banality of groupthink, managers can still too-often just paint by the numbers. Relievers are used the way they are because they have always been — a truism grounded in inertia.

But here was Miller, a 6-foot-7 left-handed weapon that Francona could deploy at any time and anywhere if he just chose to. With a 96 mile per hour fastball, a hellacious slider and a 1.45 ERA this season, the Cleveland Indians had given up four prospects for him for just these moments. Whether they came in the eighth or…

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