Tommy Milone was a key player in Oakland’s run to the playoffs last year, but his follow up to his solid 2012 campaign has been a bit shaky.
The A’s sent down Milone, 26, after another shaky performance on Friday night against a surging Texas Rangers team that has been cutting into Oakland’s once comfortable six game division lead.
On Friday, Milone was not sharp at all, giving up nine hits and six runs overall in just 3 2/3 innings of work. On the year, Milone has gone 9-9 with a 4.39 ERA over 133.1 innings of work. The A’s have seen Milone be rather inconsistent in his second full season, with the southpaw going just 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA since the break.
The usually efficient Milone has issued 33 walks this season, just three shy of his season total from a year ago. Command has been an issue for Milone, as the A’s have seen their lefty give up 22 home runs. To give you some sort of perspective, the A’s lefty gave up a total of 24 homers last year over 190 innings of work.
While Milone has posted a higher K/9 rate (6.75 vs. 6.49) this year, his command has just been off (2.23 BB/9 in 22 starts vs. 1.71 last year). Milone doesn’t posses overpowering stuff by any means, but he makes up for his lack of firepower in the form of excellent command of his pitches. Take away his command, though, and Milone can become a very hittable pitcher.
Oakland optioning Milone to Triple-A to work on his command does make sense. The A’s know what kind of pitcher Milone can be when he has command of his pitches, but they also know they have the Rangers to worry about as the season comes down to its final two months of play.
The A’s have other potential players who could ultimately come in and take Milone’s spot in the rotation should Milone continue to struggle. Brett Anderson, who is working his way back from a foot injury, is on his way back and the A’s could also throw Sonny Gray into the mix as well.