OK, so that’s sort of a loaded title. Kevin Millwood has succeed in one start with his new team, the Rockies. Still, one has to wonder, with all the question marks surrounding the Red Sox rotation, was releasing Millwood the right move?
Back in May, Millwood opted out of his minor league contract with the Yankees. The Sox were ready and waiting with a minor league deal of their own. In 13 starts at Pawtucket, Millwood posted a 4.28 ERA, 3.70 FIP and 2.6 K/BB rate. Even with the problems circling the rotation, the Red Sox decided to grant Millwood his release.
The Colorado Rockies were quick to act and signed Millwood to a minor league deal, but stuffed him directly into their big-league rotation for a start yesterday. While early season scouting reports had Millwood topping out at 85 MPH with his fastball during his time in the minors, he was sitting at 88 MPH while touching 90-91 MPH in his first start with the Rockies. Though he took the loss, Millwood’s numbers looked good, as he allowed three earned runs over seven innings while striking out six and walking only one.
Even though his stat sheet numbers looked encouraging, his pitch f/x painted a different picture (via BrooksBaseball.net)
Millwood worked up in the zone for most of the night and got away with it. Maybe that was because the Reds threw out a lineup featuring Dave Sappelt and Edgar Renteria batting first and second, Todd Frazier — once a top prospect, but with only 42 major league at-bats to his name — batting fifth, Ryan Hanigan batting seventh and Paul Janish batting eighth. In that Reds lineup, only Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are batting over .260 on the year.
Sure, Kevin Millwood had a, well, positive outing, I guess — if we just focus on his numbers and not the context of what he was facing. But that doesn’t mean that the Sox made the wrong decision. Nothing that Millwood showed, pure stuff wise, in his first outing with the Rockies indicates that he would have been a successful fifth starter for the Sox. If anything, he would have been no better of an option than Tim Wakefield, who at least has a chance to baffle hitters on a day the knuckler is dancing particularly well.
The Sox took a shot at the veteran Millwood. They gave him time, evaluated his performance and moved on. And rightfully so.