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The Tiring Mr. Miller?

Is Andrew Miller tired?

Will Carroll included what almost seemed like a throwaway comment in his Tuesday "Under the Knife" column at the end of some notes on the recovery prospects of Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney.

One other thing to consider is a scout's quick note to me that he thinks that Andrew Miller looks tired.

And I meant to post something about that before yesterday's start, but it slipped my mind. Miller's stamina has been a concern throughout the season, as he logs more innings and pitches more frequently than he ever has before. Maybe the Tigers can skip his turn in the rotation occasionally, as they did with Justin Verlander last season, but they're in a position now where keeping him in the rotation isn't just a luxury, but a necessity.

In lieu of Miller's performance yesterday, questions about whether or not he has a tired arm are especially pertinent. After the game, Jim Leyland openly wondered why Miller wasn't letting it rip with the fastball, noticing his lowered velocity.

"I was disappointed in Miller's velocity. It wasn't good. He pitched pretty well, but for the most part he didn't throw the ball -- just OK. We couldn't figure it out.

"Maybe he was gun shy about turning it loose because he was wild in Chicago. I'll find out. When you throw the ball 95-96 miles an hour, you have to throw it 95-96 more than once or twice a game.

"The woods are full of 89 mile-an-hour sinkerballers."

Ouch. Rather than attack the strike zone, Miller nibbled around the plate with softer stuff, racking up a high pitch count, and taking him out of the game early. Obviously, the hope is that Miller was throwing tentatively, trying to keep his pitches under control. But his stamina should also be a concern, considering that his leaving the game after five innings meant that the Tigers had to go to their beleaguered bullpen sooner than they would've liked. As TigerBlog points out, it was very likely the difference between bringing in a long reliever like Jason Grilli and giving the game to the set-up crew (though those guys aren't throwing well, either).

Miller insists his arm feels fine, but we've heard already heard plenty of that from Fernando Rodney and Nate Robertson, and it turned out they were battling injuries. So maybe Miller's issues are in his head right now. If not, the Tigers' ever-growing list of pitching problems will become even more bloated.