When the A's Tommy Milone is at his best, he's not a lot of fun to catch.
"To be honest, Tommy's kind of boring — in a good way, though," said catcher Derek Norris. "The best way possible."
And how is that?
"You don't have to do anything," Norris said. "You don't have to worry about balls in the dirt. You don't have to worry about balls going over your head. You don't have to worry about left and right. Everything comes in exactly where you put your glove."
In his first season with the A's, which also was his first in the big leagues, Milone quickly established himself as the epitome of the term "crafty left-hander." He far exceeded expectations as one of the supplementary players acquired in the trade of popular Gio Gonzalez to the Washington Nationals.
Milone, 26, set an Oakland rookie record (along with teammate Jarrod Parker) with 13 wins. He led the team in starts (31), innings pitched (190) and walks per nine innings (1.71, also second-lowest in the American League). Despite not being regarded as a strikeout pitcher, his 137 whiffs (against 36 walks) were only three behind Parker's team-leading 140.
The A's were 20-11 in Milone's regular season starts, and in the A.L. Division Series against Detroit, he pitched six innings of five-hit, one-run ball in Game 2 at Comerica Park. It was a performance that might have turned the series Oakland's way had the A's not faltered in the late innings and lost 5-4.