Mike Minor will take the mound today at 12:35 p.m. when the Braves try to salvage this three game series against the Reds in Cincinnati. I use the term “salvage” ’cause that is what you have to do when you blow a game in the ninth inning, like the Braves did last night.
Minor will be opposed today on the mound by Cincinnati right-hander, Mike Leake. Minor was drafted by the Braves with the 7th pick of the 2009 draft, the Reds took Leake with the 8th pick.
It has been said that the Braves don’t have a true number one starter, but I think Minor is moving towards being that guy. Since last year’s All-Star break, he has the fifth best ERA in the majors, and third best in the National League, at 2.50. He has gone 9-6 in 20 starts during that time frame.
Minor also has continued to gain velocity, he has topped out at 94 this season, and is consistently 92-93. He’s tall and lanky, and as his frame continues to fill out, I can see him throwing in the 93-95 range.
I like Minor matching up against the Reds today. Three of the Reds top four hitters (Sin-Soo Choo, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce) are left-handed, Minor has given up just 3 hits in 29 at bats against lefties this season. The .103 batting average he has allowed against left-handed hitters ranks third in the National League.
In Minor’s last outing against the Mets, he gave up 3 early runs, but then retired the last 18 batters he faced. He has allowed only 34 base runners this season, in 38 2/3 innings, for an outstanding .88 WHIP.
Minor does have a tendency to give up the long ball, so in homer-friendly Great American Park he will have to keep his breaking pitches down, while getting ahead in the count. Cincinnati is very tough at home, but I look for Mike Minor to pitch a solid game today, and put the Braves in position to win late in the game.