Atlanta Braves starter Mike Minor had another solid outing Thursday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. The big left-hander gave up only two earned runs in seven innings. Minor struck out five and displayed great control by not allowing a walk.
Minor could have gotten through his outing without giving up a run. The normally sure-handed Andrelton Simmons, booted an almost certain double play ball, that would have ended the sixth inning. The Blue Jays then proceeded to score three runs, two of them were earned.
Besides pitching great baseball all season, Minor has done a pretty good job lately of hitting the ball hard. Last week against the Mets, he even smashed a home run. He’s also hit some balls solid that were right at defenders.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has evidently taken note of Minor’s new-found batting prowess, and made a minor adjustment in his strategy, so to speak.
Against Toronto Thursday night, with Ramiro Pena on first, and Brian McCann on second, Minor squared around to bunt. As the corner infielders came charging in to field the anticipated bunt, in hopes of potentially getting a force at third base, Minor pulled back and took a full swing that resulted in a looping fly ball to left field.
After the game Minor was asked about getting the green light from Fredi Gonzalez, and if he is up there swinging now since his recent home run.
“Maybe to myself I may be thinking that,” a chuckling Minor said. ”But no, I think it was a couple starts ago against the Mets. They were crashing in the corners, running a play on us, and they (Braves coaches) said that if I ever see that I can swing. So I felt that the third baseman was a little bit close and I wanted to swing.”
That is the type play that even though it didn’t work this time, it will keep opponents guessing. Fredi Gonzalez is an “out of the box” manager who will try different things, and that is what I like about him.