clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tommy Milone fills in for DL’d Stephen Strasburg; helps Nationals in 10-3 win

Tommy Milone wore a Nationals uniform again for the first time since 2011, and did his part to help in what ended up a 10-3 win in which he recovered from a rough first for a solid outing.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Before tonight, Tommy Milone last started for the Washington Nationals, who selected him out of USC in the 10th Round of the 2008 Draft, back on September 26, 2011, after making his debut with the Nats earlier that month.

Later that year, the left-hander was dealt to the Oakland Athletics in the trade that brought Gio Gonzalez to the nation’s capital.

Milone, who pitched for the A’s, Twins, Brewers, and Mets before signing on to return to the Nationals on a minor league deal this winter, got the call to return to the Nats’ rotation when Stephen Strasburg landed on the 10-Day Disabled List again (with what was described in a press release as cervical nerve impingement) before his planned start against the Marlins in Miami tonight.

“He’s been pitching really well,” Davey Martinez told reporters when asked for a scouting report on Milone before tonight’s game, “using his fastballs, changeup is his out-pitch, but they said he’s been throwing the ball really well, really well, throwing a lot of strikes.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

“I’m looking forward to watching him pitch and hopefully he keeps us in the game.”

It looked like Milone might not last long in the first of four with the Fish, who connected for four hits and three runs in the bottom of the first inning, 3-0, but the lefty held it there in the first, and got through three without giving up any more, and the Nationals made it a one-run game with solo shots by Trea Turner and Juan Soto in the top of the fourth, 3-2.

Milone tossed a scoreless bottom of the fourth and came back out for a scoreless fifth, and the Nationals rallied to tie it up at 3-3 in the top of the sixth before Martinez went to the pen for Justin Miller...

Tommy Milone’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 84 P, 58 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

Washington scored ten unanswered runs total, taking the series opener 10-3. Milone received no decision but he impressed the Nationals’ manager.

“He settled down, got strike one, that was the biggest thing, working ahead,” Martinez said.

“And his fastball is sneaky, got the ball up there, and he held us close. I told him, I said, ‘Just keep us close we’ll have a good chance to win.’”

Milone, whose two-seam fastball sat 87-88, threw 38 total, 25 for strikes, generating 16 swings and four swinging strikes with the pitch.

He mixed in a four-seamer (87-89, 10 P, 9 swings, 1 whiff), a change (78-80, 22 P, 13 swings, 5 whiffs), and a curveball (77-79, 14 P, 11 S, 8 swings, 3 whiffs).

As for what changed for the southpaw after the rocky opening frame?

“He probably had a little jitters,” Martinez said. “His first time pitching for us this year, so for me, like I said, he settled down and was able to throw strikes. He’s got to throw strikes. For him, he’s got to work ahead in the counts, and he mixes his pitches up well.”

“The first inning,” Milone admitted, “... coming up for the first time, I was just kind of a little bit anxious, I guess — nervous, I don’t know what you want to call it, but I settled down after that and I felt pretty good.”

Helping a desperate Nationals team get a win felt good too.

“Obviously I know the situation that the team is in right now,” he said, “so I was just hoping I could come up and help out and do what I need to do to either stick around or just help the team get a win.”

Did he earn another look?

“We’ll have to see,” Martinez said.

“For right now he did well, and we’ll reevaluate where we’re at.”

They’ll likely need someone to start for Strasburg the next time his turn in the rotation comes around.

Martinez updated reporters on the righty’s status before the game, after the announcement that Strasburg ended up back on the DL just days after he returned from a month-plus stint on the disabled list for right shoulder inflammation.

“I have no timeline,” Martinez said when asked when the starter might be able to return.

“He had an MRI done. His MRI on the shoulder came back clean. He did a nerve test, and he has a slight impingement in his neck, so he’s going to see a neurologist, and right now there’s no timetable for his return, so hopefully we get him right and we get him better soon.”