A lot happened at the trade deadline last year, but it was a move that went well under the radar that is now paying off greatly for the Minnesota Twins. On deadline day, the Twins traded journeyman outfielder Sam Fuld to the Oakland Athletics for lefty starter Tommy Milone. At that time, the A’s were just trying to open up a spot in the rotation for Jon Lester, who Oakland had acquired earlier in the day.
Fuld had actually started the season with the Athletics, but was designated for assignment after playing just seven games with the team. Minnesota swooped in and picked Fuld off of waivers only to trade him back months later. This season, Fuld is hitting just .212 this season in 73 games with Oakland, who is an American League worst 39-47.
At the same time, it’s Milone who is currently playing the best baseball of his career for the Twins, who swept the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon behind a seven inning, one run gem from his left arm.
But today’s stellar outing is nothing new for the 28-year old former USC Trojan. Milone is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA in seven starts since getting called from Triple-A on June 4th. He is 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA this season.
It seems like yesterday that the Twins were desperate for starting pitching. They’ve had the worst ERA for a starting staff each of the past two seasons and it didn’t look much better heading into 2015, especially after Ervin Santana was suspended for 80-games after failing a drug test. But now Milone is a big part of one of the best rotations in the Majors.
He’s helped create so many good problems for the Twins. Minnesota had to send Milone down to the minors at the end of April despite a 2-1 record in the opening month of the season. The team just didn’t have room for him, even after he went 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA with the Rochester Red Wings (AAA). It took a Ricky Nolasco ankle injury to get Milone back in a Twins uniform and it’s been smooth sailing ever since for the veteran.
With the sweep over the Orioles this afternoon, Minnesota is now six games over .500 and has won five of their last seven games. They’ll take on the Detroit Tigers at home starting tomorrow night as they look to carry their hot play into the All-Star break.