Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz said he had noticed something was off the last few times Millwood has thrown, and following Monday's one-inning outing -- in which Millwood surrendered five earned runs -- it became clear.
"He's not getting the kind of extension on his pitches that is necessary," Kranitz said of Millwood, who has a 10.20 ERA in his last seven starts. "The lateness on his pitches just hasn't been there.
"I just see guys taking close pitches ... and I start to think about why that is pitching [wise]. He just wasn't extending through the zone, and when that happens, you aren't going to have the same stuff and command that you need here."
Millwood -- who begrudgingly went to the DL -- admitted that he has been feeling soreness in the forearm area, close to his right elbow, for the last few days. While he said it didn't bother him so much during games as it did in the work he did between starts, Millwood's effectiveness has certainly taken a hit.
Including the five earned runs he allowed to the Tigers, his first-inning ERA is 24.00 in his last nine starts, and he has allowed 25 runs in that span to balloon his season ERA to 5.77. His 10.20 ERA in his last seven starts is a stark contrast to the 3.38 he posted in his first five outings this season and the 4.29 mark in the six after that.
"You want to be able to go out and try to help your team, and not being able to do that is frustrating," Millwood said. "The way things were going, I wasn't helping much anyway. So hopefully I can help get it back on track a little bit."
The plan for Millwood will be to back off and rest, and given the upcoming All-Star break, the Orioles could juggle their rotation so the right-hander only misses one or two starts. That's good news considering Millwood didn't want to go on the DL at all. Both Kranitz and interim manager Juan Samuel said Millwood never complained or brought the soreness to their attention. Millwood also said that if he wasn't approached by the team, he would probably still be making his next turn on Saturday.
"[Millwood] wanted to continue pitching, but it is something that we needed to do for the good of everybody," Samuel said. "I know he is frustrated mentally that he probably wasn't able to pitch the way he is capable of pitching. But he still wanted to go out there and it is something that you admire from a guy like Kevin. You wish you had more Kevin Millwoods -- guys that want to take the ball regardless of how they feel."
Even with his diagnosis, Millwood (2-8, 5.77 ERA) wasn't ready to blame the injury for his recent struggles, saying that he just simply couldn't put the ball where he needed to.
"I am not sure what caused [the injury] to be honest with you," Millwood said. "It is just something that popped up. It's more of a soreness thing right now. There were times when playing catch in between games that it hampered that a little bit. Right now it is just something that is sore and that they think we need to get taken care of right away."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less