Tommy Milone started Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers after having what was, for him, a so-so September.
A year later he’s not even guaranteed a spot on the Oakland roster despite the fact that he is, by his own admission “feeling like I’m pitching better this September than last year.’’
The difference is that last year he was in the starting rotation for virtually the entire season, finishing 13-10 with a 3.74 ERA.
A’s right fielder Josh Reddick may have played his way back into a start or two in the near future.
Talking before the game, manager Bob Melvin said he was finding it difficult to put Reddick, who hasn’t played in over two weeks thanks to a wrist injury, into the lineup. Brandon Moss and Daric Barton both are doing well in Reddick’s absence and the A’s were 11-4 since Reddick’s injury.
The A’s made it 12-4 Wednesday, but the scope of the win, 18-3, and the fact that the A’s scored early and often changed the dynamics for Reddick.
This is not the way Tommy Milone envisioned his season winding down.
Just two months ago he was a key member of one of the best young pitching staffs in the Major Leagues, and at 26 he was a left-hander with positive playoff experience and plenty of promise.
The season started out well enough with Milone earning the No. 3 spot in the rotation and winning his first three starts. But then luck started to get rough. Over the course of his next five starts he brought his ERA down from 3.86 to 3.71 but went 0-5. He couldn’t catch a break.
Looking at the situation from the outside, it may seem as if they A’s are taking a risk in not finding a way to get Brett Anderson back into the starting rotation for the post-season.
But as things stand now, that is exactly the plan for Oakland, and the A’s seem to think the bigger risk would be to push Anderson into a role he hasn’t filled since the first month of the season.
Manager Bob Melvin indicated Tuesday the club was leaning heavily in the direction of having Anderson pitch out of the bullpen for the rest of the season and for whatever portion of the post-season the A’s reach.
Brandon Moss had a breakthrough year in 2012 when he hit 21 homers in less than two-thirds of a season as the A’s first baseman.
On Tuesday night he set a new personal best with his 22nd homer. There was a time not that long ago when it seemed that getting to 22 might take considerably longer than it did.
It took Moss 265 at-bats to get to 21 homers last year. He was at 366 at-bats coming into Thursday, and in his 368th at-bat he hit a go-ahead homer Tuesday to trigger the A’s 6-3 rain-shortened six-inning win over the Tigers.
No one knows better than Tommy Milone that his spot in the Oakland rotation comes with no guarantees.
Pitch well in the season’s final six weeks and he can figure he’ll keep getting the ball every five days.
Pitch poorly and the A’s have options. Brett Anderson, the A’s opening day starter, is on an injury rehabilitation assignment and is being groomed to return as a starter after a stretch in which the A’s thought the club might be best served with Anderson joining the bullpen.
No one had to sketch out the situation for Dan Straily.
The A’s bullpen was hurting from overwork and closer Grant Balfour was going to need a day off.
Straily needed to get deep into the game for the A’s to have a decent chance to win.
The right-hander had not even made it to the fifth inning in any of his previous three starts, but this time was different.
Josh Donaldson, perfectionist.
It’s not always an easy thing, but it’s probably a good thing as far as the A’s are concerned.
Donaldson had gone without a homer or an RBI since the playing of Major League baseball had resumed after the All-Star break.
The A’s would like to add a starting pitcher before the trade deadline comes around Wednesday, and the A’s have a preference for that pitcher to be Jake Peavy.
Wishing doesn’t make it so, of course, but the club is very much in the hunt for the Chicago White Sox’s right-hander, who cleaned out his locker Sunday morning with all indications a trade is just a day or so, if not an hour or so, away.
The Braves, the Dodgers, the Cardinals and the Red Sox came into Sunday as fellow contenders in the race to get Peavy as the White Sox try to shed salary and add good young prospects.
Nate Freiman, like any first baseman, knows how to gauge a close play at first base, even a play he can’t see.
Judging the impact of the ball hitting the glove while feeling through your leg as a runner is almost simultaneously hitting the base becomes a habit.
And what did Freiman think of the eighth inning play Saturday when second baseman Jed Lowrie tried to throw out Chicago leadoff hitter Alejandro De Aza on a medium-speed grounder with the score tied at 1-all?