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View Full Version : Is Milton turning the corner?



RedEye
04-14-2006, 01:11 AM
I thought I'd make public the dueling voices the have entered my head about our most reviled free agent pick-up:

VOICE #1: I hated him last year as much as the next guy, but his first two starts have been impeccable this year. I remember reading that he was still having problems last year with the knee he had repaired earlier. He apparently couldn't push off well, which led to a loss of velocity and movement on his pitches. That combined with an unfamiliarity with GABP's unforgiving dimensions caused a tailspin in the first half and some statistics almost impossible of 'correcting' with a good second half. If he can keep logging quality starts and keep his ERA around 4.00, we could be looking at a 15-game winner and a respectable #2 starter. Tom Browning must have had more pitching tricks to show him than we realized! :thumbup:

VOICE #2: This is the beginning of the season for pete's sake! Hitters are ALWAYS behind pitchers at this stage of the game, and Milton is probably getting away with some pitches right now. He himself admitted that many of his outs were deep fly balls today. Those will be out of the park soon enough. Sure, he's looked much better than last year, but I don't believe in miracles. He'll give up around seven runs in his next few starts and we'll all remember how much we hate Dan O'Brien and his botched tenure as GM. We should trade him as soon as possible for any kind of bullpen help we can get. :(

What do you all think? Are each of these perspectives real or am I just crazy? Both?

Thanks for your time...

RedEye

George Foster
04-14-2006, 01:47 AM
I disagree with you that the pitchers have the advantage in the early part of the season. There has been a lot of HR's the first week in baseball, as almost every year. Maybe one of the stat guys in this forum can search this.

I am rooting for Milton big time. He did not make a lot of excuses last year, he said he sucked. He's VERY competitive, and wants to win. He works hard. I don't think money has affected this guy, which is rare. I think the real story here is that Browning helped him alot in Florida with working on the "right" side of the pitching rubber, and Soto taught him how to throw a different kind of change-up. Soto had maybe the best change-up in all of the 80's. I think it would be great if he was a candidate in September for come-back player of the year, but it's a long season, just 2 starts, but so far so good.

Gainesville Red
04-14-2006, 01:52 AM
I'm also rooting for him big time. Not just because he's a red, although that helps, but because like Foster said, last year when he sucked, he said he sucked. I like that. He doesn't appear to be a slacker, and seems to really want to do well. It seemed like last year the only person made sicker by his performance than us, was him. Good luck to ya Milton, and keep the beard. Beards are cool.

The Baumer
04-14-2006, 01:58 AM
Milton is 30 years old, 4 months, and 17 days. No pitcher since 1914 has ever posted a sub-4.00 ERA after having a 6.00+ ERA the season before at that age by April 13th of his 30th year. Compared to other pitchers with at the same point in their careers and a past season's WHIP of over 1, Milton is 12% more likely to post an ERA above 5.00.


G O GO SAB ER M ETR IC S
12 2 34 33 3 3 3 344 55 +45 +.89 -.00089

SO in summation, there are currently 64 members of Redszones crocheting mini-Milton voodoo dolls for devious purposes.

RedEye
04-14-2006, 01:59 AM
Yeah, I guess I don't have any empirical data to back up the claim that pitchers are ahead of hitters now (although it was just one of the voices in my head, and not necessarily me).

The whole "pitchers ahead of hitters early" dictum is just something that I've heard many times on early season baseball broadcasts and radio talk shows. Kind of a casual thing that gets brought up from time to time, but never backed up substantially except with casual observations like "Oh yeah, that pitcher dominated that game... must be ahead of the hitters because it's early!"

Of course, Foster, your counter-claim that the pitchers aren't ahead because "a lot of home runs have been hit this week" doesn't really stand up to much statistical scrutiny either...

It would be interesting if someone has actually done research on this. Anyone know anything about it?

StRedlegs900
04-14-2006, 02:01 AM
I agree 100%. I think this is all Milton, and I think he's going to have a big year. Sure, he'll have a few bad outings...all pitchers do...but I've felt deep down that he's going ot have a good year this year. If Harang pitches the way he did last year, and Arroyo and Milton keep this up, we could have 3 legitimate starters in our rotation. Claussen and Williams haven't pitched that bad, and Wilson seems to be getting healthier, so the chance is there. We've all seen how we can win with pitching. If we stay consistent, we could actually win a few here and there.

GAC
04-14-2006, 05:38 AM
His performance in Wrigley Field yesterday buoyed my optimism. Was his health a factor? We'll see. But regardless, the guy is a flyball pitcher.

GridironGrace
04-14-2006, 09:39 AM
I think he's off to a great start.

He's had what? 4 consecutive SOLID Starts Dating back to ST. He's gonna lose some games and he's gonna give up some HR's. Just like any Pitcher.

But you have to admit. We arent 6-3 without how he's pitched so far. If last years Milton was on the mound we are 5-4 AT best. And probably more like 4-5.

We can credit a Strong start at 6-3 to HIM, Arroyo, and our ability to Drive in the run so far this season. IM not asking him to win every outing. I dont expect it to happen, and althought i hope it does, its not gonna happen.

All I want from Milton, and any of our pitchers as far as that goes, is consistancy. Just give us some solid outings. And keep us within 3 runs at the end of a game and our BATS can make something happen the majority of the time.

I wann see our TEAM ERA drop from last seasons dismal numbers. Lets see a Team ERA of 3-4.

Miltons gonna be fine. Atleast he's doing the work needed to improve as much as he can.

BuckWoody
04-14-2006, 10:00 AM
I think our whole season hinges on this question. The offense looks very strong so far and hopefully that defense improves as the season goes along (the left fielder is just in a fielding slump, right?). If Milton can get back to his form from 2004, there is a chance for a .500+ season. If he reverts back to how he pitched last year, I think we're looking at a win total in the low-70's again.

Caveman Techie
04-14-2006, 10:39 AM
VOICE #2: This is the beginning of the season for pete's sake! Hitters are ALWAYS behind pitchers at this stage of the game, and Milton is probably getting away with some pitches right now. He himself admitted that many of his outs were deep fly balls today. Those will be out of the park soon enough.

One little note to dispute this part of the argument in your head ;) Milton was pitching in Wrigley on a day where the wind was blowing out. It doesn't matter if it's April or not with the wind blowing out in Wrigley, the ball goes out! So in a way we could be making the argument that alot of those deep fly balls would have been shallow fly balls in GAB :) I know I'm dreaming but hey it's April and thats allowed right now.

Falls City Beer
04-14-2006, 10:43 AM
Two starts, two homers allowed.

Since we're playing "small-sample size," that means Milton will surrender 33 homers in 33 GS, right?

Or maybe, in July and August, some of those long flies become homers, and he surrenders 40 homers this year.

That wouldn't happen, would it?

Nah, sample size is too small. ;)

Dunner44
04-14-2006, 10:54 AM
Two starts, two homers allowed.

Since we're playing "small-sample size," that means Milton will surrender 33 homers in 33 GS, right?

Or maybe, in July and August, some of those long flies become homers, and he surrenders 40 homers this year.

That wouldn't happen, would it?

Nah, sample size is too small. ;)

I don't really care how many homers uncle Milty lets up as long as he can keep them to solo shots like he has so far. A huge part of that comes from not walking batters, which he has been pretty good with so far. Only one non-intentional walk so far, i believe.

TRF
04-14-2006, 11:53 AM
Two starts, two homers allowed.

Since we're playing "small-sample size," that means Milton will surrender 33 homers in 33 GS, right?

Or maybe, in July and August, some of those long flies become homers, and he surrenders 40 homers this year.

That wouldn't happen, would it?

Nah, sample size is too small. ;)

I don't care if he surrenders 40 HR's. The HR's weren't what killed him and the reds last year. It was the infinite number of baserunners allowed via hit and BB's. if he gets those down, he can maybe be a Corey Lidle type. I guess that won't kill you. And it's still a big if.

Reds1
04-14-2006, 12:11 PM
I'm proud to say I wasn't a big basher of Milton. I think the Redzone did wear me down later in the season :), but I never believed he was as bad as he pitched last season. Clearly he has turned the corner and I look forward to watching him pitch this season. I'm very pleased with how this Teams starting pitching line up looks. It's nice to see some success. Look around the league folks - there's a whole lot of bad pitching going on. We are looking at a record for runs scored and it's nice to say the Reds are contributers. I know it's early though and I try not to get overly confident in our product, but I can't help be estatic.

Buckaholic
04-14-2006, 04:05 PM
I know everyone fears the worst with Milton because of how he pitched last year and to a smaller extent, the year before in Philadelphia. Let's remember though, the Eric Milton that you saw last year hasn't always been that same Eric Milton. For a good while, he was a pretty good pitcher for Minnesota and it's not irrational to think he may once again be a good pitcher.

As pointed out, the home runs themselves weren't the real killer. It was the 2 and 3-run shots because of walks and basehits that preceded the homers.

If he can limit the number of big innings and big homers, he can be an effective pitcher even if he lets a lot of balls leave the yard now and then.

redsfan30
04-14-2006, 04:16 PM
Around these parts, it doesn't matter if Milton goes 10-0 to start the season with an ERA under 3.50. If in the 11th start he gets shelled it's going to revert back to the same old "Milton sucks" or "release Milton" or "trade Milton for a bag of balls" deal and that's not fair.

Some people around here get pre-concieved notions in their minds and just wait for it to happen so they can jump on the bashing wagon and that's not fair either.

That being said, I'm very encouraged with what I've seen from Milton so far this year. When I first heard about the knee thing as an excuse for last year, I thought it was just that, an excuse. But so far he's looked like a completely different pitcher from last year, top to bottom. He was still hitting 94 MPH on his fastball in the 6th inning yesterday. Last year he had to really dig deep to hit 90 MPH in the early innings.

Let's not forget, Eric Milton took a big time hit last year in the pride department. It's only natural to want to go out that next season and prove to people that he can do it.

It's very early, but I'm optimistic when it comes to Eric Milton.

gm
04-14-2006, 05:23 PM
If you ask Jason LaRue, he'd say Milton started "turning the corner" last July

(Eric's 2005 splits seem to bear that out, as well)

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlbhist/players/splits?statsId=5944&type=pitching&year=2005

Last September = fatigue?

max venable
04-14-2006, 05:29 PM
Two starts, two homers allowed.

Since we're playing "small-sample size," that means Milton will surrender 33 homers in 33 GS, right?



And Arroyo will hit 33 HR this year. :thumbup:

UPRedsFan
04-14-2006, 05:38 PM
He has turned the corner. Stick with voice #1 until he proves otherwise. But I don't think that'll happen for all the reasons stated. Now if we could just get a little help for Coffey and Weathers in the bullpen to protect leads Milton gives us, he might win 15 or 16. I'm satisfied with the starting pitching. It's good enough to compete with this offense. The bigger question is whether Shack, Wagner or a trade can be made to help the pen.

RedlegJake
04-15-2006, 03:44 AM
I think Milton was pitching at less than 100% health last season. He's always had pretty good peripherals except that big bugaboo - the homers allowed - but he never completely stunk up the mound until last season. I think the Reds get a solid season from him but even at 7-3 and being all jazzed by the Reds start there are a couple things nagging at me saying "don't get too caught up"

1. The Reds defense. This is an offensive era but every position can't sacrifice defense solely for offense. There has to be a balance along the way. There is hope. EE has been a big part of the defensive lapses so far and he should improve steadily as the year goes on. If Narron deigns to give Philips some starts at 2nd the whole infield suddenly looks much better.

2. The bullpen. Just pathetic. The hope here is that Belisle, Weathers and Mercker provide at least average pitching, Coffey steps up big time and Wagner gets straightened out.

3. Depth. The Reds can't sustain any injuries to key players, especially starting pitchers. But injuries always happen during a season - that's just the hard reality.

I'm not as negative as this seems, though - I'm basically a homer and will expect the Reds to contend for a playoff spot just like I do every year.