I've long been a supporter of Eric Stults, and subsequently a basher of Jeff Weaver; however, as long as Eric Milton doesn't make too many more appearances I think the Dodgers could do much worse for the back end of their rotation than either of the two pitchers discussed above.Since then Eric Milton has not only tallied two straight victories, but has made me feel guilty enough about bashing him to now be writing a column heaping him with praise. Though he ran into trouble in the sixth inning Milton pitched very effectively the first five innings, and for the second consecutive outing. From Ken Gurnick...
The Dodgers got more wins from Eric Milton on the just-completed trip than they have from Hiroki Kuroda all season.
It's unexpected contributions like that from all sectors of the roster that have made the Dodgers the best team in baseball and good enough to go 20-9 in May after an 8-2 win over the Cubs Sunday. They haven't won that many games in May since 1962.It was quite a week for Milton, the only Dodgers pitcher with two wins during the trip after going almost three years without a Major League victory.
He held the Cubs scoreless for 5 1/3 innings, then allowed the next four batters to reach base and was removed after Reed Johnson's two-run double. Johnson went 8-for-12 in the series.
"He kept it off the fat part of the bat," manager Joe Torre said. "Most important for us, in the first inning, after we scored five, he didn't give them anything."Milton has now taken charge of the fifth-starter spot. He's made three starts, each a little better than the previous one, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said.
"I felt good in Colorado," Milton said of his five-inning win on Tuesday night, "and even better tonight."
Benefiting from a 5 run offensive output by the Dodgers in the first inning no doubt played a part in Milton feeling better; however, that's not to diminish his performance over the first five frames. Being staked to a large lead, and asked to throw strikes, Milton responded by getting 59 of his 86 pitches over the plate, and walking his only batter in his last 10 innings pitched.
Sure it's only two steady performances, but as Meatloaf once sang, "two outta three ain't bad." Don't look now but we might have found this year's Chan Ho Park.