Tim McCarver, who has said many things over time, once said of battery mate Bob Gibson: “He’s the luckiest pitcher in baseball. He always pitches on nights when the other team doesn’t score any runs.”
Tommy Milone, lately of the Braves, is not Bob Gibson. But in the course of 12 days, Milone has become the Braves' rabbit’s foot. On the nights when he pitches, HIS team scores tons of runs.
For all the insane numbers flowing from Wednesday’s 29-9 victory over Miami, here’s my favorite, per Stats: Milone became the first starting pitcher IN THE MODERN HISTORY OF BASEBALL to have his team support him with a 10-run inning in TWICE IN ONE SEASON and NOT BE THE WINNING PITCHER either time.
On his first day as a Brave, Milone yielded as many earned runs (seven) as he managed outs, this despite having been staked to a 10-0 lead in the second inning. The Braves beat the Phillies 12-10.
Wednesday night brought another Milone turn. The Braves trailed 2-0 after the top of second. They led 11-2 shortly thereafter. After 3 1/2 innings, Milone was gone and the score was 13-8. Given that a starting pitcher must go five innings to qualify for a win, Milone fell five outs short – on a night when his team scored more runs than any team in the modern history of the National League.
More fun with numbers: Milone’s ERA as a Brave is 14.90, which usually buys a starter an 0-3 record. His record here is 0-0. He has yielded 22 hits in 9 2/3 innings. His WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitched) is a beyond-belief 2.488, the big-league average being 1.388. He has been awful, and yet …
The Braves are unbeaten when he starts.
As noted by Grant McAauley of 680 The Fan: “The Braves have scored 48 runs in Milone’s three starts (16 runs per game) … The Mets have scored 44 runs in Jacob deGrom’s eight starts (5.5 RPG).”
As noted by Bob Dylan, who’s believed to be a baseball fan: “I can’t help it if I’m lucky.”
In trading for Milone, not exactly the cream of deadline-available starters, the Braves were hoping to find someone to eat innings. He hasn’t done that, either – he’s averaging 3.1 per start. But still: Whenever he has pitched, his new team has won. Whenever he has pitched, his team has turned into a 21st Century blend of the Big Red Machine and the Bash Brothers. On the three nights he has pitched, the Braves have hit 12 home runs.
Which leaves this question: How many runs might these Braves score if they were batting against Milone? And also this, following the Braves' move Thursday to put him on the injured list (elbow inflammation): Without their magic man for at least 10 days, is all hope gone?