After being swept in a four-game series at Montreal last week, the Phillies have a chance to return the favor—half-way—after taking the opener of this brief set 5-3 Tuesday night.
In his last start, Millwood allowed only three hits over eight innings in a 7-0 win at New York on Friday, striking out four and walking just one. It was his fourth straight start in which he allowed fewer than three earned runs.
“I didn’t know anything about him except that he beat us all the time,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “But he’s been very good. He’s very good with our young pitchers. He watches all the young guys’ sides, talks with Joe (Kerrigan), talks with them. He’s been great. He’s certainly lived up to his billing.”
Meantime, the Phillies have won four of five since losing six straight, and moved into a tie with Florida for first place in the NL wild-card race.
The Expos, on the other hand, have lost five straight since sweeping that four-game series against the Phillies.
Montreal hopes former reliever and current starter T.J. Tucker can end the team’s losing streak.
Tucker, the closer coming out of spring training before giving way to Rocky Biddle, has made just four starts in 40 appearances this season. The 25-year-old right-hander hasn’t earned a decision since May 15, but has pitched well in his last three starts—allowing just four earned runs in 14 1-3 innings.
In his last outing, Tucker allowed five hits over six scoreless innings, but had to leave the game with a 2-0 lead before the Expos a dropped a 3-2 decision to the Marlins on Friday night.
STANDINGS: Expos - 4th place, 17 GB, NL East. Phillies - 3rd place, 13 GB, NL East.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Tucker (0-1, 4.59 ERA). He’s 1-0 with a 21.00 ERA in six career appearances against the Phillies.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Millwood (13-9, 3.64 ERA). Millwood is 10-5 with a 3.37 ERA in 18 career starts against the Expos.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Jose Vidro, .322 avg.; Vladimir Guerrero, 23 HRs; Orlando Cabrera, 71 RBIs, 87 runs and 21 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .319 avg.; Jim Thome, 38 HRs, 104 RBIs and 88 runs; Bobby Abreu, 18 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 9-9.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - In seven games since the All-Star break, opponents are hitting just .212 against RHP Tucker. … OF Guerrero hyperextended his left knee in Tuesday loss, and will miss Wednesday’s game. … Montreal signed RHP Jose Mercedes on Tuesday and designated LHP Scott Downs for assignment. The 32-year-old Mercedes was 14-6 with a 3.71 ERA in 22 starts for Saltillo of the Mexican Summer League. He last pitched in the majors for Baltimore from 2000-01. He was 22-24 with a 5.02 ERA in two seasons for the Orioles, and won 14 games for Baltimore in 2000. Downs was 0-1 with a 15.00 ERA in one start for the Expos. Phillies - LHP Valerio de los Santos was acquired from Milwaukee for a player to be named or cash. He was 3-3 with a 4.13 ERA and one save in 45 games with the Brewers. … INF Placido Polanco sat out his third straight game because of a sore left quadriceps muscle. Manager Larry Bowa said Polanco could be in the lineup Wednesday. …. The Phillies gave up on OF Eric Valent, sending him to Cincinnati to complete a trade that brought C Kelly Stinnett to Philadelphia. Valent was the 42nd overall pick in the 1998 amateur draft, a compensation pick awarded to the Phillies for losing J.D. Drew, who was picked No. 2 overall in 1997 and refused to sign.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 25-46 on the road; Phillies - 40-27 at home.
INJURIES: Expos - OF Guerrero (knee), day-to-day; C Michael Barrett (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Scott Stewart (appendicitis), 15-day DL; RHP Claudio Vargas (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 60-day DL; 3B Fernando Tatis (chest), 60-day DL. Phillies - INF Polanco (thigh), day-to-day; 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP Terry Adams (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL.