Is Kevin Millwood back? That’s hard to say. He struck out ten before leaving with a blister in the sixth; the only run scored off him came later that inning as an inherited runner scored. Millwood actually got a win, 2-1, and looked as good as he has in years. But at the same time his fatigue problems haven’t been adressed, because he left early for other reasons. I really want to see if he can go seven or eight innings.
John Smoltz was dominant, striking out two, in closing the game out. He had a terrific month of June. On May 29th, he gave up three runs and got a loss and a blown save, pushing his ERA to 5.93. In June, he’s pitched thirteen times, has allowed two runs (both on June 12) and gotten a save in every game he’s pitched. His ERA has gone down all the way to 4.53, and in 13 1/3 innings over the month he’s allowed only eight baserunners while striking out sixteen. In other words, Smoltz seems to be settling in to this closer thing.
Chipper Jones, like Millwood, has a blister problem and did not start today. He did pinch-hit for the pitcher, who wound up hitting in the AL park because Andruw Jones started as the DH but wound up playing center. It really bugs me when the Braves lose the DH in these AL park games, and it seems to happen a lot. It’s not like Bobby (and Pat Corrales as well) weren’t managers in the AL for years.