It may have taken a while, but Kevin Millwood finally appears to feel at home at Ameriquest Field.
Millwood (16-10, 4.36 ERA), signed to a five-year, $60 million contract after leading the AL in ERA for Cleveland last season, is 7-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 16 starts at Ameriquest in his first year as a Ranger.
He had a rough start at his new home park, however, losing his first two home starts and not earning his first win at Ameriquest until May 4. He was 1-3 with a 7.76 ERA through his first six home outings
He’s turned things around since, though, going 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his last four home outings. Millwood defeated the Seattle Mariners last Tuesday, allowing only one run and four hits in seven innings of an 8-1 victory.
“He didn’t look around and say, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s this, it’s this,” Rangers (78-77) manager Buck Showalter said. “He said, ‘I’m not real sure, but I’m going to go out there every fifth day and if I’m good enough, it’ll work out over the long haul.”
Millwood, who went 9-11 with a 2.86 ERA for Cleveland (71-83) last season, has won both of his starts this season against his former club while allowing only three runs and 10 hits in 15 innings, walking one and striking out 17.
Millwood defeated the Indians on Sept. 3 at home, limiting Cleveland to one run and two hits in eight innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts.
“I don’t know if I threw (the curveball) any better, I just used it more,” he said after the Rangers won 5-2. “They’ve been trying to get me to use it more. I threw it more than ever.”
The Indians ended a four-game losing streak with Saturday’s 6-3 victory. Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs overall as the Indians won for just the sixth time in their last 20 games.
“I was happy to get a good swing,” Peralta said. “I needed a good at-bat there. You can never have enough offense against this team.”
Right-hander Jake Westbrook (13-10, 4.15) will look to win his second straight start when he faces Millwood.
Westbrook allowed two runs—one earned—and nine hits in 7 2-3 innings of Monday’s 7-2 victory at Oakland. He bounced back after allowing 11 hits in six innings in each of his previous two outings, both losses.
“I was able to throw strikes and get ahead of the hitters,” said Westbrook. “I did a better job of keeping them off balance.”
Westbrook is 3-1 with a 4.91 career ERA against the Rangers.
Cleveland and Texas have split their eight meetings heading into Sunday’s season series finale.
This is the final home game of the season for the Rangers, who finish their schedule with three-game series at the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle. Cleveland returns home to face the Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay for its final seven games.