Tommy Milone’s final start of the 2012 regular season was not his strongest. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up nine hits in a 5-2 A’s victory over the Seattle Mariners to cap a three-game sweep. But Milone knows there’s a very good chance he hasn’t pitched his last game.
“The way we’ve been playing, there’s not a doubt in my mind that we’re going to be able to make it to at least one of the wild card spots,” Milone said.
If the A’s play in Friday’s do-or-die wild card game, Milone would be on turn to pitch that game, though the A’s also could bring back Jarrod Parker on three days’ rest. I’m guessing they wouldn’t do that since Parker has yet to pitch on three days’ rest all season. Brett Anderson? He’s scheduled to throw off the mound Monday, but I’m not sure the A’s would consider him ready by Friday since he’s been out since Sept. 19 with an oblique injury. So that likely leaves Milone, who is 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA in his rookie season. All things being equal, I’d take Parker from their current rotation as my first choice in a one-game, do-or-die type situation. He’s got more shutdown-type stuff than Milone, and I think Milone’s got less margin for error if his location isn’t on. But certainly, Milone has shown enough this season to warrant confidence that he can get the job done in a big game if he’s dialed in.
–You can’t say enough about the job the A’s bullpen did over the past couple of games. Ten shutout innings over Saturday and Sunday alone. Their work has been really important considering the A’s starters haven’t been pitching as deep into games lately as they did most of the season. And that’s why A’s manager Bob Melvin could probably feel good going into a potential wild card game Friday. Even if his starting pitcher didn’t go deep in that game, he could feel comfortable going to the bullpen early knowing that the relief corps can shut things down.
–A big play of Sunday’s game that was easy to overlook when all was said and done: Josh Donaldson’s diving stop at third base and throw to first to end the fifth, with runners on the corners. This guy continues to impress me with his glove. A converted catcher, Donaldson looks really natural at third now and you have to think that he’s got the A’s believing he can handle the position on an everyday basis next season, though a healthy Scott Sizemore would have something to say about that. Brandon Inge, sidelined with a shoulder injury, would also be an option if he re-signed with the A’s.
“He’s been good all year,” Melvin said of Donaldson. “He’s worked really hard this spring from the minute Sizemore went down (with a knee injury), working with Gags (Mike Gallego), Chip (Hale) and Phil Garner. Third base comes naturally for him now, and he’s contributing for us offensively. He’s been huge since (Brandon) Inge has gone down.”