Tommy Milone hadn’t pitched in a game since April 29. And yet here the 30-year-old journeyman lefthander was, taking the ball for the Mets in the series finale against the Giants Wednesday afternoon at Citi Field, tasked with starting a contest for a depleted rotation.
“It’s definitely not ideal,” Milone said.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Milone delivered a performance worthy of a victory — even if the Mets fell to San Francisco, 6-5, thanks to a blown save from closer Jeurys Familia.
Using a crafty five-pitch mix, Milone limited the Giants to two runs on six hits over five-plus innings in an outing that exceeded Terry Collins’ expectations.
Milone will make another start next week in Arizona, trying to stake his claim for the fifth spot in the Mets’ rotation while Seth Lugo (elbow), Steven Matz (elbow) and Noah Syndergaard (lat) remain on the disabled list.
“He threw the ball exactly how we hoped he would — changed speeds, threw strikes and mixed them up,” Collins said. “So he’s exactly what we’ve seen and what we’ve heard about.”
Here’s a timeline of Milone’s wild last 10 days:
On May 1, the Brewers designated the Milone for assignment after he allowed four runs in two innings of relief in a loss to the Braves. Milone went home and continued to throw to ensure his “arm was still in shape.”
On May 7, the Mets claimed Milone off waivers, unable to rely on 26-year-old righthander Rafael Montero as a stopgap fifth starter.
On May 8, Milone was added to the Met’s 25-man roster. Two days later, he was starting a major-league contest. Between April 29 and May 10, Milone threw off a mound once.
“You kind of make do with what you have in front of you,” Milone said.
Nonetheless, he found success against a middling Giants lineup.
He made a mistake to Buster Posey in the second that the San Francisco catcher deposited over the left-field fence. And then a second run came in the sixth, when Milone encountered some fatigue and allowed back-to-back singles to open the inning. Collins pulled Milone after the second hit, and his replacement, Fernando Salas, failed to end the threat before a run scored.
But Milone was happy with the results, and he thanked catcher Kevin Plawecki “for the game he called.”
“That makes it a lot easier — when you’re not shaking off two or three times every pitch, getting into a rhythm,” Milone said.
Now Milone flies with the Mets to Milwaukee to face his former team. His family is still residing in the area, and the schedule allowed him to avoid making living arrangements right away.
“We kind of put that stuff on hold because we knew we were going to be back there pretty soon,” he said.