Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman meet again, this time as opponents

henrypalattella
Oct 17, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (facing) hugs first baseman Mike Napoli (26) after game three of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 17, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Andrew Miller (facing) hugs first baseman Mike Napoli (26) after game three of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman started the season as Yankees. Now, they meet up as members of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

While the World Series features a historic matchup between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs, two former teammates will be meeting up as well. Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman started the year as teammates. Now they’re going to finish the season as enemies.

Miller and Chapman started the year as back-end relievers for the New York Yankees, as they combined with Dellin Betances to form one of the best back-end bullpen trios in MLB history. They even nick-named themselves “No Runs DMC,” and for good reason.

But then the dominos fell. First Chapman was traded to the Cubs. Then Miller was dealt to the Indians. Both Miller and Chapman have played key roles in helping their respective clubs reach the World Series, but that doesn’t mean that they’re being used in the same ways.

Miller has been a god among men this postseason, as evidenced by both his stat line (five hits allowed and 21 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings) and his flexibility. Miller has made six appearances this postseason, and so far he has appeared in the fifth inning once, the sixth inning twice, the seventh inning twice, and the eighth inning once, and what’s even more astonishing is that all of those appearances have been for more than one inning.

Indians manager Terry Francona is a postseason magician, and his use of Miller this postseason has just been another one of his tricks. Francona understands how much every postseason game means, and he has proven that he is willing to go to Miller at any inning if he thinks that the situation could be dicey.

While Chapman’s numbers (1-0, 3.38 ERA, 3 SV, 10 K) aren’t as good as Miller’s, he’s still been just as dominant, albeit out of a more traditional closer role. Chapman has yet to come into a game earlier than the eighth inning, and he has only pitched more than one inning once.

But most of the time, Chapman only needs one inning. His fastball continually clocks out above 100 miles per hour, and he routinely makes major leaguers look silly in the batter’s box. Chapman’s biggest problem is his command, which is what led to him giving up some runs this postseason.

One of the reasons that both Joe Maddon and Terry Francona might be willing to go to their star relievers so early is because they each know that they have other weapons in the back of their bullpens.

Cody Allen has recorded six saves so far this postseason for the Indians, while Hector Rondon recorded 18 saves during the regular season before the Cubs got Chapman. Allen and Rondon would both be the main man in most bullpens in the MLB, and their presence in their respective bullpens only makes Miller and Chapman better, as they know that they have depth behind them.

Next: Breaking Down the Pitching Matchup with the Cubs

Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman combined to form one of the most potent bullpens trios in MLB history. Now they’ll end their season in neighboring bullpens, with their minds set on ending a championship drought. Buckle up, it’s going to be fun.

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