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Back in '98, Much Less Rope for Nomo
2004-07-01 10:55
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Hideo Nomo's first final season with the Dodgers was in 1998.

After going 14-12 with a 4.25 ERA in 1997, Nomo opened '98 with alternating good and bad starts in April. On April 13, for example, he pitched seven innings of one-run ball against Houston. Five days later, he allowed eight runs in two-thirds of an inning - on three hits - in Chicago.

Nomo followed the worst start of his career with three quality starts, in which Nomo allowed seven runs in 24 innings (2.33 ERA). Then came another early knockout - four runs in 2 2/3 innings in Florida.

Three more quality starts followed - eight runs allowed in 20 2/3 innings (3.48 ERA). Going into his May 30 start against Cincinnati, Nomo had a 4.50 ERA for the season in 11 appearances, with seven effective starts of six innings or more. His 2-6 record to that point was somewhat misleading.

On the 30th, the Reds struck Nomo with six runs in 3 2/3 innings.

On June 4, in a trade replete with obscure Dodgers, Nomo was sent to the New York Mets with Brad Clontz for Dave Mlicki and Greg McMichael. Over those 1 1/2 years, Nomo would have contracts with seven different organizations.

Thanks to an off day, the Dodgers didn't have to replace Nomo in the starting rotation until June 6. Following starts by Ismael Valdes, Darren Dreifort, Ramon Martinez and Chan Ho Park, Mlicki took the mound in Nomo's place, and allowed six runs in three innings.

Mlicki pitched eight innings of one-run ball in his next Dodger start, showing that the Dodgers had just as inconsistent a pitcher as they had in Nomo, though perhaps a better one. Mlicki's Dodger ERA in 1998 was 4.05. Nomo's with the Mets was 4.82.

A little more than three years later, Nomo returned to the Dodgers, with little in the way of expectations, and posted ERAs of 3.39 in 2002 and 3.09 in 2003.

Nomo's career ERA has jumped from 3.64 at the end of 2003 to 4.0041 today.

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