Before I go into detail as to why Kevin Millwood is no longer the "ace" of the Rangers rotation I want to make one clarification.
It absolutely hurts to have to write this about the pitcher who was the rock of this team until the All-Star break, but his pitching over the past two months has been abysmal.
His walk rate has doubled to a shade under five per game as he continues to struggle with command of his fastball leading to an ERA of close to six since July; also double what it was through June.
How can a seasoned veteran like Millwood not be capable of making the necessary adjustments to fix his fastball?
What happened to the pitcher I wrote a full throttled defense about when he was snubbed from the All-Star team?
The pitcher who blew a lead against the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon is not the same pitcher who blew everyone away at the beginning of the season.
His slump has now reached troubling proportions and sadly he cannot be trusted down the stretch to give the Rangers a chance to win the games they need to win to make the playoffs.
At this point, Dustin Nippert would be a better option.
Playoff teams and, more importantly, game one starters in a playoff rotation do not blow a lead against the light hitting Orioles.
The news wasn't all bad today as the Red Sox also lost so Millwood only cost the Rangers a game in the AL West standings.
Considering the Rangers still have seven games against the Los Angeles Angels the game lost to the Angels was better than losing a game to the Red Sox.
Not to mention the Rangers may prefer the wild-card spot and face the Yankees, unless they want to face Verlander and Jackson twice in a short series.
If the Rangers do overcome what could be another five poor starts for Millwood in September, can they really trust Millwood to pitch two games of a playoff series?
Kevin Millwood is now the 5th starter on this team.
If they can skip his spot in the rotation then skip it.
If they make the playoffs he's going to the bullpen.
If not, cross your fingers that he doesn't blow it, which is likely the way he's pitching.
Scott Feldman, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Brandon McCarthy are going to have to get the Rangers to the postseason and beyond as Millwood isn't likely to be much help.
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