- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Nationals’ Milone making his mark
PHILADELPHIA — The eyes of Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Hunter Pence were transfixed.
Not on the first base bag he was supposed to be running to, attempting to beat out an infield grounder, but on the barrel of his bat as it sailed into the seats above the Washington Nationals' dugout Tuesday.
When Tommy Milone is pitching well, a cracked bat is a common occurrence. When he's on, like he was for six scoreless innings in the Nationals' 4-3, 10-inning win in the first game of the doubleheader, he's sawing them in half.
Ross Detwiler was equally dominating in the nightcap, outdueling Cliff Lee by scattering three hits over 7 1/3 innings in a 3-0 victory. He walked one and struck out three.
"[Milone] doesn't have overpowering stuff," said third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, the hero of Game 1 with a pinch-hit RBI single in the 10th inning. "But he knows how to use his stuff to make it overpowering."
Milone left with the lead after Roger Bernadina's three-run homer into the upper deck in right in the seventh, but his outing turned into a no-decision when Raul Ibanez did precisely the same thing a half-inning later.
In the 10th, manager Davey Johnson turned to Zimmerman, whose RBI single sealed the Nationals' first five-game road winning streak since 2005.
But it was not Zimmerman's clutch hit that everyone wanted to talk about after the game. That honor went to the left-handed Milone, who continues to interject himself into the conversation for the Nationals' 2012 rotation.
"Tommy was perfect," Johnson said. "It puts him in competition for starting on this ballclub. We need more pitchers like him if we're going to compete against Atlanta and Philadelphia. I haven't seen anything that would put him out of the mix yet. He's been outstanding. ... His poise has been off the charts."
As Milone's comfort level has improved, so, too, has his performance. In his first start, he was strong the first time through the lineup but faltered on the second turn. In the next, it was a similar script. It was an issue Milone was conscious of and made an effort to correct - realizing he'd need to use his secondary pitches more.
Milone is stingy with walks - he allowed just 16 in the minors this year compared with 155 strikeouts - and has walked just three in four major league starts. But teams were approaching him aggressively. He had to learn not to be afraid to throw balls out of the zone and coax hitters to offer at them.
"I'm not trying to throw everything for a strike," he said. "I'm making it look like a strike and leaving the zone with two strikes."
Against the New York Mets last week he was, as Johnson said, "magnificent."
He did that one better Tuesday against the National League East champions with the longest and most dominant start of his career. In six innings he threw 96 pitches (not one over 90 mph), surrendered four hits, struck out two and watched just five balls reach the outfield - three of which were outs.
"It was actually pretty easy," Milone said. "It didn't seem like I had to try too hard. ... The more I go out there, the more comfortable I feel. The pitches were coming out and every time I tried to hit my spot, I was hitting it. It just felt like it was a lot easier.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- WOLF: The president's other Obamacare lies
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warns Pakistani leaders of U.S. aid losses over drone-strike protests
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow