– MLB – Recap – Mets at Braves – 06/03/2002

The Braves almost blew it. They were up 4-0 in the first on a grand slam by Vinny Castilla, but (a) were unable to follow through by getting any more runs off of longtime whipping boy Steve Trachsel, and (b) Kevin Millwood, after looking strong early, fell apart midway through the third. Eventually, he was lifted in the fourth inning with a tie game and the go-ahead runner on base, but Chris Hammond got them out of it. Andruw hit his 14th homer in the sixth and the bullpen was superb, Hammond (who got the win) in particular, and the Braves won 5-4.

Millwood is a concern. Sometimes, he looks very good; if not at the level of his near-Cy Young season, like a strong second or third starter. But he does tend to run out of gas, and it’s not getting better. Last year, he tended to fall off in the sixth inning. This year, it’s been the fourth and fifth, and last night, as I said, it was the third. That is not the trend you’d like to see. He’s failed to make it out of the fifth in four of his thirteen starts this year. If Albie Lopez didn’t stink, I would suggest moving Millwood to the pen; if Smoltz continues to struggle and they decide to make him a starter again, Millwood should go to the pen, though I expect they’d move Marquis instead.

Three more remain with the Mets, and Glavine and Maddux await; the Braves are now 2 1/2 up, and one win would guarantee a lead coming out of the series.