Monday, June 07, 2004

Millwood's Misery | He may be the Phillies' No. 1 starter, but Kevin Millwood lately has looked more like No. 2, if you know what I mean. The Phils staked Millwood to a 4-0 lead after two innings against the Braves yesterday, but a six-run Atlanta fifth sent Philadelphia to a 6-4 defeat at Turner Field. Millwood's 4.2-inning outing earned him an unusually harsh assessment from the Inquirer's Jim Salisbury, who filed today's game story:

All those runs were given up by Kevin Millwood, who not only continues to struggle against his old team but also has failed badly at being the ace the Phillies thought they were getting when they traded Johnny Estrada for him before last season.

Since the all-star break last season, Millwood is 8-10 with a 4.70 earned run average in 27 starts. Scott Boras may really be the best agent in the business if he can score Millwood No. 1 starter's money on the free-agent market this winter.

This was a game Millwood should have won, a game he should have put in his pocket, a game that should have ended the hex the Braves have on him.

Instead, he let a 4-0 lead get away, all in one inning that featured sloppy pitching and sloppy defense.

Meanwhile, the Phils enter interleague play this week looking distressingly like last season's underachieving disappointment. In his thorough review and analysis of the season's first third, Bill Liming observes, "... [T]he Phillies currently stand at 29-25, on a pace for an 87-75 season. That's just a game better than last season, and not terribly likely to get them into the post-season." Not helping matters at all is that injuries are piling up. While Placido Polanco and Billy Wagner will return for tomorrow's opener against the White Sox, Randy Wolf has been shut down in an effort to alleviate tendonitis in his throwing elbow, and David Bell seems to have joined the ranks of the majors' permanently nicked players. It's rather difficult to envision a half-full glass these days.


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