About 28 hours after David Ross had lauded Andrew Miller the day before Game One of the World Series, the former Red Sox catcher found himself in the most unenviable of spots: trying to hit Miller, the game on the line.

And here was the main problem for Ross: It was Miller’s performance in situations just like this that he had singled out for praise the previous day.

You could fill volumes with breakdowns written this month of Miller’s transformation from an untenable starter into arguably the game’s best reliever — how the Red Sox wisely took a flyer on him before 2011, how Bobby Valentine showed faith in him and Bob McClure reworked his mechanics in 2012, how Terry Francona has deployed him to maximum effectiveness in 2016.

For Ross, though, all that talk about limiting leg kicks and pitching from the stretch and diversifying the slider misses the main point, which is Miller’s toughness.

“A guy like Andrew Miller has perspective on success and failure, so he understands not to take anything for granted and to stay in the moment and continue to do what he does best,” Ross said on Monday, a day before the start of the series. “That’s character. That’s perseverance. I feel like those guys, especially when they’re on this stage, they’re the toughest ones to beat.”

That was the case for Ross and the Cubs in Tuesday’s Game One. Punctuated by his 3-2 slider to seduce a just-too-far check swing from Ross, Miller tossed two scoreless innings in Cleveland’s 6-0 win.

“[It’s] to see him evolve and just build that confidence and build that repertoire that he has,” said Jon Lester, who took the loss in Game One for Chicago. “He’s not just a rock-chucker up there throwing it and hoping that they swing and miss. He has an idea. He’s a very intelligent guy that thinks through at-bats.”

Miller has been the ultimate bullpen weapon this postseason. For a Cleveland team lacking in viable rotation options beyond Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin, the left-hander has thrown 13 2/3 innings in 10 postseason games. His versatility and durability have permitted the Indians to receive nearly 65 percent of their postseason innings from the quarter of Miller, Kluber, Tomlin and closer Cody Allen.

As someone who caught Miller for a season and a half in Boston, Ross is well-versed in what makes the left-hander so talented.
“This guy is one of the best I’ve ever caught. He’s tough to catch, so you know he’s tough to hit,” he said earlier this week. “He’s one of the best in the game, obviously.

“He never stops competing, he shines on the biggest stage as you’ve seen. I don’t think anybody that knows Andrew is shocked by what he’s doing.”

Miller may own a World Series ring from his time with the Red Sox, but he acknowledged it would feel more meaningful this time around, given that he’s healthy. He missed the second half and the entire postseason of 2013 with a foot injury.

“I was very fortunate to be included in that team and the chance to sit in the dugout and be part of that team as much as possible. I wanted nothing more than to play in those games and help those guys win,” he said. “They fortunately didn’t need me and found a way. I saw how much fun they had and how much they enjoyed it and what it meant to them. My goal was to get there and have a chance to do it for my own.”

Lester wondered how much easier that October could have been with Miller in the pen.

“We were talking about it the other day. We were like, man, our bullpen was lockdown at the end of that year and we didn’t have this guy,” he said. “This guy didn’t even pitch for us in the postseason.”

“He’s a guy you root for, man,” said John Lackey. “He’s a guy I hung out with quite a bit when we played together in Boston. It’s fun to see a good guy doing well.”