In 1998 and ’99, Millwood looked like the latest superstar pitcher to emerge from the Atlanta Braves vaunted minor-league system. Over those two seasons, he posted 36 wins against just 15 losses with a 3.61 ERA, finishing third in Cy Young Award voting in 1999.
Millwood relied on a mid-90s fastball, hard slider and changeup. But in 2000 season his setup pitches — the changeup and breaking ball — deserted him. That season, his ERA skyrocketed to 4.66. To make matters worse, he was hampered by shoulder pain in 2001 that kept him from getting any velocity on his fastball.
Millwood started that season 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA and went on the disabled list for the first time in his career on May 28. Unable to recapture his earlier form, he finished the season 7-7 with a 4.31 ERA and started the postseason in the bullpen.