Orioles starter Kevin Millwood was having a fine afternoon against the Blue Jays today until he came unraveled in the eighth inning. His fastball and slider were on and he was locating his pitches well as he breezed through the first seven innings, allowing just one run and three hits as the Orioles led, 2-1.
(Sidenote: Boy, does Millwood work fast. Fans who come to Camden Yards just to get buzzed up on Natty Bohs shouldn't come when he's on the mound. He doesn't waste time out there.)
Baltimore manager Dave Trembley made the right move by leaving Millwood in for the eighth inning. Millwood was on fire – his fastball was clocked at 90-91 mph in the eighth – and his pitch count was around 70. When a guy is pitching that well, you leave him in – especially when you don't have a closer.
But after Millwood retired the first two batters of the inning, third baseman Miguel Tejada booted a routine ground ball that should have ended the inning. Two batters – and two homers – later, the Blue Jays took a 4-2 lead. Millwood got yanked after that.
It was a disappointing end to a really impressive start by Millwood. His final line: 7.2 IP, five hits, four runs (but only one earned) and six strikeouts. The one stat he shouldn't feel good about: He allowed a Guthrie-esque three home runs.
I'm curious to see what Millwood will have to say after the game. He's a stand-up guy and will only blame himself. But if the Orioles can't mount a comeback, this one won't entirely be his fault.