Tag: Tom Milone

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter passes George Brett on hits list


Derek Jeter is now in sole possession of 14th place on the all-time hits list after singling off Tom Milone to open Sunday’s game against the A’s.

It was Jeter’s 3,155th career hit. He’s passed Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Robin Yount, Paul Waner and now Brett since the season began. Next up on the list is Cal Ripken at 3,184. After that is Nap Lajoie at 3,242.

Jeter got his 3,155 hits in 18 seasons and 10,062 at-bats. He’s a lifetime .313 hitter. Brett, who wasn’t blessed with Jeter’s durability and also missed a good chunk of a season due to the 1981 strike, had 3,154 hits in 21 seasons. The first-ballot Hall of Famer hit .305 lifetime.

And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers

Rangers 11, Mariners 5: According to Google Translate, a literal translation of “run support” in Japanese is サポートを実行する.  I have no idea if that covers the actual concept of run support, but I bet after last night Yu Darvish knows. He started out his major league debut by giving up four runs in the first inning while throwing 42 pitches. The bats of Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton bailed him out of 4-0 and 5-2 deficits, however and later they piled on some more. Darvish ended up laboring through five and two-thirds, throwing 110 pitches, striking out five and walking four. But I suppose he just knows how to win, because he got the W.

Giants 7, Rockies 0: Barry Zito throws his first shutout in nine years. In Coors Field of all places. He only gave up four hits too, and didn’t walk anyone. I think the most logical explanation here is that Zito has been abducted by the pod people, who then put a cyborg in his place. I mean, sure, that sounds fanciful, but I’m a proponent of Occam’s Razor and in accounting for Barry Zito throwing a shutout in 2012, the cyborg/pod people story contains no more assumptions than are necessary to accomplish the explanation.

Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2: The Sox win and Alfredo Aceves gets a save? Way to kill the narrative, Boston. I had hoped I could ride that out the rest of the week. Not I gotta think and stuff. I go it! Daniel Bard to the bullpen … of the 2003 Red Sox!

Yankees 6, Orioles 2: The Yankees get their first win too, though it wasn’t quite as narrative-killing as the Boston win. Red Sox fans watch their team lose three games and kind of freak out. The Yankees could lose their first 26 and they’d say “Here it goes: we’re gonna win the next 136 games! Go Yankees!”  Don’t applaud yourself for your optimism here, however, Yankees fans: both behaviors are highly annoying to the rest of us. Jeter had four hits. Since Ivan Nova both (a) won; and (b) allowed ten hits, I am contractually obligated to say that said hits were “scattered.”

Athletics 1, Royals 0: Wow, Tom Milone. Eight three-hit shutout innings? With no strikeouts, by the way, which doesn’t happen often.

Mets 4, Nationals 3: The Mets keep chugging along. The game was tied 3-3 since the fourth inning, but Daniel Murphy singled home Mike Baxter in the bottom of the ninth to win it.

White Sox 4, Indians 2: Chris Sale wins his first career start, pitching into the seventh and allowing only one run on three hits. Gotta like the Indians chances tonight, though: according to the game notes, the White Sox plan to tour the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today, and that’s so damn depressing that the Sox will likely be down for the game.

Cardinals 7, Reds 1: Homer Bailey is awfully sweet. He knows that some Reds fans are probably missing Edinson Volquez this year, so he did a great impression of him by getting lit up like a Christmas tree in the first inning. Matt Holliday homered and then David Freese and Yadier Molina hit back to back dingers that inning. Given that Jake Westbrook allowed only three hits and an unearned run in seven, that was all the Cards really needed.

Astros 8, Braves 3: Atlanta’s season continues to be depressing. This one was a full team effort: the Braves committed four errors, their pitchers made the Astros hitters look pretty darn good and once Houston had the lead, Braves hitters looked like they rolled over and died.  Really, in the seventh inning, Braves hitters saw six pitches. Six total pitches all inning long. Oh, and their manager continues his misguided though somehow admirable campaign to make Braves fans never, ever forget that Bobby Cox is gone. [Miss you Bobby! Call me!]

Marlins 6, Phillies 2: Hit this one up yesterday, but here’s the short version: Omar Infante — former All-Star — hit two bombs, as the Phillies home opener was no fun for anyone apart from the Marlins.

Angels 5, Twins 1: C.J. Wilson gave up one run on three hits in seven innings. After Jason Hammel’s outing on Sunday, I’m sensing a pattern here: pitchers do really well when facing the Twins.

Brewers 7, Cubs 5: Ryan Braun got booed like crazy in his first action in Wrigley Field since everyone decided that he was guilty of taking something. Whatever. There were nine Cubs players named in the Mitchell Report plus Sammy Sosa who wasn’t, and I’m assuming all of them were booed heartily too. Wait, they weren’t? Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d be tempted to believe that the booing is based on some form of tribalism as opposed to genuine disapproval of Mr. Braun’s alleged actions.

Tom Milone first in six years to go eight scoreless with no strikeouts

Tom Milone

The Royals must have thought A’s rookie Tom Milone was a nasty left-hander when they sat lefty bats Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas on Monday night. They went on to make him look like one, kind of anyway.

Tommy Milone became the first pitcher in six years to finish an outing with at least eight scoreless innings and no strikeouts as part of a 1-0 win over the Royals. He allowed three hits and three walks in the 93-pitch outing before turning the ball over to closer Grant Balfour in the ninth.

The last pitcher to go eight scoreless without a strikeout was Justin Verlander against the Twins on May 17, 2006. Verlander also went without a walk in that one, though he still threw 103 pitches in his eight innings. Chien-Ming Wang of the Yankees pulled off the same feat five days prior on May 12, 2006, with eight scoreless, strikeout-less innings against the A’s.

Before that, it hadn’t been done since Scott Erickson of the Orioles shut out the Royals on April 28, 2002. Milone is the first left-hander to do it since the Pirates’ Jimmy Anderson against the Cardinals on July 22, 2001.

Many are skeptical of Milone since he works in the high-80s and doesn’t feature a great breaking ball. What he does have is command, a plus changeup and a delivery that makes him tough to read. The combination helped him go 12-6 with a 3.22 ERA and a 155/16 K/BB ratio in 148 1/3 innings for Triple-A Syracuse last year. The A’s picked him up from the Nationals over the winter as part of the Gio Gonzalez trade.

Whether Milone can keep this up is unclear. Certainly, he won’t be able to without any strikeouts, but he did have excellent K rates his last two years in the minors. As a soft-tosser, he’ll always be doubted until he experiences extended success in the majors.

Springtime Storylines: Who are the Oakland Athletics?

Chicago Cubs v Oakland Athletics

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2012 season. Up next: the Somewhere in the Bay Area Probably Oakland A’s.

The Big Question: Who are these guys?

To say the A’s have undergone a lot of changes since last season is more than a bit of an understatement.  Out are Trevor Cahill, Andrew Bailey, Gio Gonzalez, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham and David DeJesus. In are Yoenis Cespedes, Bartolo Colon, Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Parker, Josh Reddick and Brad Peacock.  But more significant than the net value of the changes themselves is what those changes represent.

Mostly, it represents more sadness for A’s fans who bought into the rebuild-on-the-cheap-and-surprise-everyone storylines for the past decade.  It worked pretty well. Pretty darn well, actually. But now, rather than see the big names go when they hit free agency, the A’s are jettisoning players before they actually get expensive.  Rather than saying, hey, we can compete next year with some no-names, the A’s are basically saying that this year, next year and maybe the year after are irrelevant. Call us back in three years. Maybe.

All of this is a function of their stadium situation, of course. Stuck in limbo between Oakland and San Jose, the A’s have decided to basically punt on the here and now and hope that maybe someday they can move into a new park and actually spend some money (though, it should be noted, they didn’t save that much money shipping off all those players this winter due to signing Yoenis Cespedes and bringing back Coco Crisp).  In the meantime, they have done less than the minimum to even attempt to maintain fan excitement in Oakland.

None of which has a ton of bearing on how the team will actually do. More on that below.  But existentially speaking, the Oakland A’s are … no one. A team that is neither here nor there.

What else is going on?

  • The rotation is … different.  With Cahill and Gonzalez gone and Brett Anderson injured, the rotation is Brandon McCarthy and a lot of questions. Bartolo Colon was a pleasant surprise for the Yankees last season, but his durability and effectiveness in 2012 is nothing certain. Dallas Braden is coming off shoulder surgery and won’t be ready until at least mid-May, if that. Tom Milone, Tyson Ross and Graham Godfrey are no sure things.
  • The lineup is going to be a weakness, and that’s the case even if Cespedes exceeds expectations and provides some punch in the middle of the lineup. They get Manny Ramirez after 50 games, but what can he really be expected to do after more than a year off and at the age of 40? There’s not much else exciting in this lineup.
  • What about Cespedes? He’s certainly gotten a lot of press — and God knows I was taken by him when I saw him in spring training — but let’s be realistic here: is he going to come from Cuba in his mid-20s and immediately become a serious offensive threat? Or is it more likely that he’ll be a low average, moderate power, lots of strikeouts kind of guy who plays a decent enough centerfield to pass this year and maybe next, but who is really destined for a corner?  If I’m a betting man I go with the latter.
  • The real excitement in this franchise: the farm system.  Those trades of Gonzalez, Bailey and Cahill netted the A’s a ton of minor league talent. That’s great for, say, 2014, but for now it doesn’t help. Still, if you’re a prospect hound, the A’s are a fun team to watch.

How are they gonna do?

The days of the A’s being a surprise contender in a weak AL West are long gone. Even if everything breaks perfectly, they don’t compete with Texas or Anaheim.  This is a third place team if I ever saw one.