In what feels almost like an obituary, Mike Minor was thrashed by the Marlins on Tuesday night lasting only 3 1/3 innings in a 6-5 Braves loss. The Braves offense would give it a good effort with a late charge but the hole Minor dug was too deep and the Braves came up short. Minor left his fastball over the plate all night and the Marlins consistently punished the Braves pitcher whose 2014 has been a disaster to this point.
Things got off to a poor start for Minor in the first when he allowed the Marlins to load the bases before recording an out. Minor managed to limit the damage by inducing a run scoring double play and a Baker flyout. It was 1-0 Marlins after one but things could have been much worse.
The Braves did their own version of the Marlins top of the 1st when BJ Upton leadoff with a double. Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton both walked and the Braves had the bases loaded with one out. Jason Heyward tied the game with the bloop of all bloops into centerfield but the Braves rally was ended when Evan Gattis hit into a double play. The game was 1-1 after one inning and both teams felt like they should have had more.
Minor cruised easily through the second inning with three groundouts but this would prove to be false hope for the Braves. Things began to fall apart completely for Minor in the 3rd inning. He walked Yelich to lead off the inning and allowed Solano to reach on a single that sent Yelich to 3rd base. Giancarlo Stanton batting with men on is terrifying and sure enough Stanton crushed a double to put the Marlins up 2-1. Casey McGehee drove in another run for the Marlins by grounding out and Baker made it 4-1 with a single of his own. Minor lived to see another inning but it was 4-1 and Minor seemed helpless.
Justin Upton breathed a little life into the Braves by crushing his 18th homer of the season to left field but that was all the Braves managed in the bottom of the 3rd. What life Upton’s homer breathed into the Braves with his homer was sucked away when Minor allowed his pitching opponent Jacob Turner to lead off the 4th with a double. Turner scored when Yelich delivered a single and a Solano double forced the Braves to put Minor out of his misery. Minor left the game with the Braves down 5-2 and the runner he left on base would eventually score to make it 6-2. Minor had nothing all night, leaving hittable peaches over the plate all night. His ERA is now 5.32.
The Braves bullpen would do their job and keep the Braves in the game. No more Marlins would threaten and a Braves rally in the 8th made it a game. Tyler Pastornicky delivered a pinch hit single and BJ Upton was hit by a pitch on his foot to put two Braves on with none out in the 8th. Tommy La Stella delivered a sharp single to make it 6-3. Freeman and Justin Upton would both fail to reach but with two out Jason Heyward brought excitement back to Turner Field with a two run single to make the game 6-5. Gattis grounded out to end the inning but the Braves had a chance.
Things started well for the Braves in their comeback attempt in the bottom of the 9th. Chris Johnson delivered a single up the middle but the tying run was erased when pinch-runner Jordan Schafer was thrown out trying to steal second. Marlins closer Steve Cishek threw over to first multiple times to hold Schafer and it seemed to work. On the steal attempt Schafer got a very poor jump and was out easily. From there the Braves wouldn’t muster another threat as they Braves went down in order. The Braves lost to the Marlins 6-5 and Mike Minor’s short term future in the Braves rotation is possibly in doubt.
• I still believe in Mike Minor as a longterm starter for the Braves. Right now though something is wrong. His peripheral numbers are still roughly the same as what they were last season. It doesn’t make sense for a pitcher to raise his strikeout rate and maintain a good walk rate but be pitching worse. Something is wrong with Minor but it isn’t as simple as he has a bad ERA and is bad now. Look for something in depth on this topic from Talking Chop very soon