Right when it appeared Kevin Millwood would finally pitch to the level of his contract, bad stuff has begun to happen. The Rangers ace has quite simply run out of gas.
Since the All Star Break Kevin Millwood has pitched awful, with a 5.32 ERA and just two wins in nine starts. Before the break he was 9-8 and had an ERA of 3.46. He has just two wins in two months. It may only be luck Millwood managed to keep his ERA down earlier this season.
Perhaps the reason his stats are skewed is because of his ability to get out of jams. Hitters bat .274 against him with empty bases. When the bases are loaded, the average drops to .071. He's not bad with runners in scoring position (.224 batting average against) either.
Before the break Millwood went at least seven innings in 13 out of his 19 starts. His final three starts before the break where part of the minority. Take out the three July starts, and Millwood went at least seven innings 81 percent of the time.
He hasn't gone seven innings since June 21.
The likely culprit of the long starts is probably his pitch counts. Before the break Millwood averaged well over 100 pitches a game in those long starts. Now, Millwood can barely make it to the point where he is eligible to receive a win on roughly the same amount of pitches.
If the Rangers want to make the playoffs Millwood has to find his energy again to make it to the seventh inning. The Rangers' bullpen is not strong enough to bail him out in the fifth and sixth innings of a game.
I know it's a radical move, but another option is to move Millwood out of the rotation temporarily. Maybe that would give him the ability to take a good long rest before a big run at the playoffs, or in the playoffs.
As it stands right now I don't want Millwood back next year, and he is just four innings away from having a guaranteed contract at $12 million.
I don't want to pay $12 million for a guy with Millwood's numbers.