Aaron Miles’ Greatest Hits
While I’m certainly not at all sad to see Aaron Miles go to the Cubs, he was a Cardinal for three seasons and was one of the few remaining pieces of that 2006 memorable championship team. And he had his moments. With the help of the win probability added stats available at Fangraphs, I thought it would be fun to by look at Miles’ top 3 games as a St. Louis Cardinal, IE his “clutchiest” performances.
In a 3-3 tie Miles broke open the floodgates, hitting a 3 run homer off of Micah Owings. Miles also hit a key single later in the 5th when the Cards were down 9-7. His single advanced Chris Duncan to 3B with no outs, but unfortunately the team was unable to finish the rally. Ludwick scored Miles on an single to make it 9-8, but the D-back bullpen was nails from there on out.
In a rare display of power, Miles hit a 3 run homer in the 4th off of Ian Snell. The Pirates came back to take a 6-5 lead at one point, but the Cardinals answered by taking a 7-6 lead off of Franquelis Osoria in the 7th. Miles capped the rally with a base clearing, two RBI triple to give the Cardinals a 9-7 lead. Aaron Miles: slugger.
This was a fun one and requires a little storytelling. It was the final game before the all-star break, and Chris Carpenter pitched 8 strong innings. The Cards had a 5-4 lead heading into the 9th, and La Russa gave his ace an opportunity to finish it off, but then quickly pulled him after he allowed a lead off single against future teammate Preston Wilson.
In relief of Carp entered the Mr. Adventure himself. Izzy allowed a single against Jason Lane, advancing Wilson to third. Craig Biggio hit a sac fly to center which allowed Wilson to tag up and tie the game, sending it to extra innings. Braden Looper came in and pitched two strong innings of relief, which may have been what inspired Duncan to later convert BLoop into a starter.
In the 12th inning the Astros brought in the shell-shocked Brad Lidge. Lidge hit Eckstein with a pitch, and So Taguchi singled to make it runners on 1st and 2nd. Up now was Lidge’s daddy, but Lidge was fortunate enough to get Pujols to fly out to center. Apparently getting a boost of confidence of not watching his pitch hit a traintrack or leave orbit, Lidge went on to get Scott Rolen swinging.
Enter Aaron Miles, pinch-hitting for Juan Encarnacion. (Side note: I hope JuanCar is is in high spirits and recovering well. The irony in retelling this game is as most of you remember, it was Aaron Miles’ foul ball that ruined his career. Tragic stuff.) With two outs, Lidge throws a wild pitch, allowing the runners to advance. Miles then came through in the clutch, doubling on a groundball to left field which knocked in both runners. Josh Hancock closed the game for the only save of his career. (2007 was just a tragic season, wasn’t it? Not trying to damper Miles’ feat…) Despite the fact this wasn’t Miles highest WPA game as a Cardinal, if it wasn’t for this win over what would later become the 2nd place Astros, there might not be a 2006 flag flying at Busch III. On July 9, ’06, Miles was king for a day.