Is Kevin Millwood the best pitcher in baseball? Right now, I mean. Over the course of the season, it’s probably been Randy Johnson, and he or Curt Schilling will win the Cy Young. But for the last couple of months, Millwood has been awfully good, and he had his best game of the season tonight, giving up only three hits and no runs, and going the distance, to beat the Expos 5-0. He even was the top RBI man, driving in two with a second-inning double. His season ERA is now 3.06, and since the All-Star Break he is 10-1 with a 2.07 ERA. I think he’s only going to get four more starts, so with 15 wins he won’t win 20. But 19 is doable, which would be a career high. (Oops, he actually has 16 wins, so if he wins all the rest of his starts he’d get 20. Still tough, but a career high seems very doable.)
Offensively, the Braves got all five runs in the first two innings. Gary Sheffield was back in the lineup at last, and had a hit and a walk. Marcus Giles actually got a start at second base and had two doubles, scoring the game’s first run on a Sheffield single in the first and driving in the last in the person of Millwood. Since he had only two doubles instead of two homers, he’s obviously in a slump and must be benched in favor of Lockhart for at least two weeks. The only Brave not to get a hit, or even reach base, was Furcal, who was 0-5. If he’d had a couple of hits it would have been a blowout, but 5-0 is good enough.
The Braves have already won more games than they did all last year, 89. With 23 games to go, they only need to play .500 to win 100 games. The magic number is now four.