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

Apr 10, 2012, 1:31 AM EDT

Tom Milone AP

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.

  1. spudchukar - Apr 10, 2012 at 8:30 AM

    Exactly why would he not be able to keep this up without any strikeouts, or the more likely scenario, very few strikeouts?

    • nategearhart - Apr 10, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Without strikeouts, he’s relying too much on factors beyond his control such as BABIP and the Oakland defense.

      • spudchukar - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        Hey Nate, just to enlighten you, strikeouts are overrated and the whole “luck” thing with BABIP is meaningless as presently presented. Could be correct about the A’s defense.

      • nategearhart - Apr 10, 2012 at 10:32 AM

        Consider me unenlightened. Why are strikeouts overrated?

  2. - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Thank you Royals for once again being the laughing stock of MLB. I thought you were past this type of futility, but I guess not.

  3. APBA Guy - Apr 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Speaking of the Oakland defense, the Royals ran into 3 outs last night, two of which were actual outs (Hosmer was safe on the swim move at 3rd). But I don’t think we fans can count on Josh Donaldson making excellent plays at 3rd on a continuous basis.

    To say that everything went right for Milone last night was understating how right everything went. The Royals were over-anxious (the changeup contributed), showed poor base running skills (though they had the right idea: to run on Suzuki), and hadn’t properly scouted Josh Reddick’s arm. Bourgeois led off the game with a double (off an 87 mph “heater”) then was thrown out at 3rd on a shallow fly to right. You can’t try to advance on most right fielders on a ball that shallow no matter how fast you are. So from no outs, runner in scoring position to 2 outs, bases empty. Bad, bad judgement.

    Plus it was a chilly, windy night with high humidity (for the Bay Area) and the ball wasn’t carrying.

    However, the A’s defense isn’t as bad as is being portrayed. Daric Barton is back at 1st. He made 2 outstanding plays, and he has a steadying influence on the younger fielders like Weeks and Donaldson (ie, he catches a lot of their off-line throws). The A’s outfield is actually good. Crisp is an average center fielder playing left, so he looks good there defensively. Cespedes looks to be average range wise in center with a plus arm, and Reddick is average with a plus-plus arm. But these guys don’t drop or boot things around in the outfield. So overall, the A’s outfield rates above-average (they aren’t the Rays, with Upton, Jennings, and Zobrist).

    So prediction for Milone: pitching early in the year at the Mausoleum he’ll be effective. Later, as it heats up, he’ll look more like a 3rd starter, with less consistency. On the road he’ll be inconsistent, and the better Eastern teams will eat him alive. Overall, an ERA around 4.00, slightly above, with weak peripherals.

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