USATSI

Prior to the trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves made just one addition to a rotation that has been overwhelmed by injuries and underperformance: veteran lefty Tommy Milone, who had amassed a 3.99 ERA and a 7.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio in six starts with the Baltimore Orioles. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Milone’s Braves career has gotten off on the wrong foot. 

For evidence of that, consider how Milone made the bad kind of baseball history with his start on Wednesday against the Miami Marlins (GameTracker). Although the Braves scored 11 runs in the second inning, Milone had to depart during the fourth after yielding eight earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. Here’s the kicker: it’s the second time in three starts he’s been given a big lead by his offense … only to subsequently allow the opposition to get back into the game.

In Milone’s Atlanta debut, the Braves were able to spot him a 10-0 lead heading into the bottom of the second. He wouldn’t make it through the third, but would give up seven runs on the night. 

As noted above, Milone’s performance was historic in nature. How so? Milone, according to STATS, is “the first starting pitcher in the modern era to have his team score 10-plus runs in an inning while he was in the game twice in the same season and not earn the win in either one.” 

That’s not the kind of history any pitcher wants to make, let alone one who served as a contender’s biggest addition. 

The good news for the Braves is that they entered Wednesday with a 24-18 record, enough for a 1.5-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East. Under the expanded postseason rules, every first- and second-place team will make the playoffs.

The bad news for the Braves is that their rotation remains a mess. Atlanta placed Cy Young Award candidate Max Fried on the injured list on Tuesday because of back woes. Opening Day starter Mike Soroka is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, while Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb — two other members of the Braves’ initial rotation — have since been optioned to the alternate site.

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