This has felt anything like a career year for Eric Milton.
Milton, acquired from Minnesota in the offseason deal that sent right-hander Carlos Silva to the Twins, went 15-7 for his former team in 2001. He can match that victory total with a win over the Marlins on Saturday.
Despite his impressive 14-5 record, the left-hander has had a strange season. He leads the Phillies in victories and innings (194), but has also allowed an NL-high 41 home runs. Only Seattle’s Jamie Moyer (43) has allowed more homers in the majors this year.
Milton has lost three of his last four decisions, including Monday’s 6-1 setback to Pittsburgh. He allowed four runs and four hits over six innings, striking out five and walking three.
The defeat dropped Milton’s record to 3-3 in 12 starts since the All-Star break, when he was 11-2.
“I was brought here to be the No. 4 pitcher, but the three ahead of me went down,” Milton said, referring to injured starters Kevin Millwood, Randy Wolf and Vicente Padilla. “It just didn’t work out.”
Philadelphia salvaged something from an underachieving season Friday, securing second place in the NL East with a 6-2 win over the Marlins.
After losing 14 of 15 to Florida, the Phillies have won five straight in the series.
Florida’s Josh Beckett—also trying to match his career in wins—will look to snap that streak as he makes his final start of the year.
Beckett, 9-8 last season, pitched seven strong innings to beat Montreal 4-1 on Monday night. Last year’s World Series MVP scattered four hits and struck out eight for his first win in four starts.