Despite earning a no-decision following his worst start since late April in Saturday’s 6-5 home win over the San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor has unquestionably been the ace of the staff over the first few months of the season, going 8-2 with a 2.68 ERA and 85 strikeouts against 18 walks.
Base-on balls have always been a problem for Minor, but not this year. Unfortunately, home runs have also been an issue for the left-hander, especially against the New York Mets, who have managed just three runs in 14.1 innings against him this season, with the runs coming via a pair of homers.
Having allowed nine long balls in 14 starts, Minor isn’t awful, but he’ll surely look to blank the Mets in the rubber game of a five-game series on Thursday in Atlanta. At the very least, he’ll do his best to keep them in the yard.
As for the Braves, they’ll look for another big fly or two of their own, as they are hard to beat when they go deep. In Wednesday’s 5-3 victory, it was third baseman Chris Johnson‘s turn to do so, as his three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth proved to be a big springboard towards the club’s 25th win in 35 games at home.
That 25-10 mark is the best in MLB, and Atlanta will look to improve upon it against New York starter Jonathon Niese, who has given the Braves trouble in the past, but hasn’t won since May 16.
In this battle of southpaws, look for Minor to be major once again.