I'm going back to calling him "Tommy" on the advice of @ChiefsRadio, the official Twitter account of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs' radio team, who tweeted earlier this week that 24-year-old '08 10th Round pick Tommy Milone prefers "Tommy" over "Tom" though they also noted that, "No, he's not a huge fan of The Who," which immediately crushed my hopes of some rock opera entrance music accompanying him to the mound and through his warm-ups tonight when the left-hander makes his MLB debut against the New York Mets in Nationals Park.
Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) wrote on the Twitter last night that Milone was in Nats Park and so he likely watched what the Mets did to lefty Ross Detwiler. Hopefully he's aware that the Mets are only an average team against left-handed pitching with a .253 AVG (7th in the NL, one spot above Milwaukee's .252), a .333 OBP (which is 3rd best in the NL actually) and a .377 SLG (10th of 16). The high OBP goes along with the Mets' high walk rate (10% BB%) which is actually the NL's second highest BB% behind only the Nats' batters' 10.1% walk rate.
This bodes well for Milone, who's walked just 23 (0.97 BB/9) in 148.1 IP this year at Triple-A and walked just 84 batters total (1.46 BB/9) in 516.2 IP over the course of his four seasons in the Nationals' system while building a reputation for having the Best Control amongst a group of impressive arms as Baseball America's Aaron Fitt noted in the December 2010 list of the Nats' Top 10 Prospects.
There wasn't a whole lot for Milone to learn from Detwiler's start last night, however. Detwiler, the Nats' 06 1st Round pick, who's getting the same opportunity as Milone late this year to test himself at the Major League level, told reporters following last night's loss it wasn't, "...arguably my worst outing. It's definitely my worst outing. Nothing worked, they hit everything I threw up there hard." Asked what specifically had gone wrong out there, a visibly disappointed Detwiler said simply, "Bad location. Bad pitches. Just...everything."
HIs sinker wasn't down in the zone. Detwiler said he could only recall one good sinker in three innings, "But when you do that one time in three innings you're going to get hurt pretty bad."
"All I can remember is one pitch that was actually good," Detwiler said, "So, not much to take from this one." Nats' Skipper Davey Johnson, in his post game press conference, similarly said it was, "... one of those days you just turn the page on." Tonight "page" features Tommy Milone's first major league start. The Nationals' manager said Milone, the Saugus, California-born, USC-educated left-hander, had, "... done a great job down there [at Triple-A Syracuse], he's probably been if not the best, one of the best pitchers in the International League," when he discussed bringing Milone up for a look over a month ago.
Milone finished his first season at Triple-A with a (12-6) record in 24 starts and a 3.22 ERA, 2.24 FIP, 16 walks (0.97 BB/9) and 155 K's (9.40 K/9) in 148.1 IP. Now the lefty gets to test himself against Major Leaguers. Tonight, is important of course, but he'll have all of September and Spring Training too to show what he can do.
With Jordan Zimmermann shut down, and the news yesterday that Livan Hernandez will make just one more start this season, it's lining up to be a John Lannan, Stephen Strasburg, Chien-MIng Wang, Ross Detwiler and Milone rotation going forward (w/ Brad Peacock reportedly working out of the pen for now). Time to see what the kids have...