Meet The Pitchers: Kevin Millwood

Starting today, <i></i> brings you a look at the Phillies starting rotation. Each Thursday, Matt Lombardo will take a look at one of our starting pitchers. First up is the staff ace, Kevin Millwood, who seemingly fell into the Phillies laps over the winter when Atlanta needed to shed some payroll. Millwood has already excited Philadelphia fans with a no-hitter and with five wins through the first week of May.

Unless you have been living in a dark cave for the past two weeks you know that Phillies starting pitcher Kevin Millwood tossed only the second no-hitter in Veterans Stadium history against the San Francisco Giants on April 27. But how much do you truly know about the Phillies new ace?

Millwood began his career as one of the brightest stars from the Atlanta Braves farm system, and proved that he could play on the Major League level. During his rookie season in 1999 Millwood tied for fourth in the National League in wins, with 18. He also went 16-3 with a 2.64 ERA in his final 25 starts that season. Millwood prospered under the tutelage of Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone.

Once a solid prospect, Millwood blossomed into a player that could compliment the hall of fame caliber tandem of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, however financial issues got in the way of this possible Cy Young worthy trio. This past off-season the Braves gave Millwood to the Phillies in exchange for Johnny Estrada, in a move to cut salary for the team.

While Millwood carries a high price tag, with a $10 million one-year contract, the investment was worth every penny. Thus far in 2003, Millwood possesses an impressive 5-1 record with a 3.63 era. Also notable is the fact that through his first seven outings, Millwood recorded 40 strikeouts. Needless to say this could be a career year for this young pitcher.

This is the season that Philadelphia is making its push to not only secure a playoff spot, but also sell seats in a state of the art new stadium. Millwood is just the type of pitcher needed to accomplish both. Even before throwing the April 27 gem, Millwood was already off to a great start to 2003. While he is no Curt Schilling, Millwood has the stuff to win 20 games for this team, and propel them into a division title.

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