After starting the season on the DL because of tightness in his shoulder, Mike Minor finally made his debut for the Atlanta Braves tonight. The lefty didn’t have his best stuff out there, but the Braves have to be encouraged by his outing against the San Francisco Giants. Minor pitched pretty well for a guy who had been getting shelled in his rehab starts down in the minors, and looks ready to become a key component in the Atlanta rotation once again this year.
Last season, he was arguably the best pitcher on the team. Minor recorded a 13-9 record with a 3.21 ERA and a team-leading 181 strikeouts as the ace of the staff a year ago. Hopefully, after witnessing him pitch on the mound against the Giants tonight, Atlanta can expect more of the same in 2014. The left-hander looked nervous to start out when he allowed Angel Pagan to launch a home run on the second pitch of the game, but after that, he settled down quite nicely the rest of the way.
Minor lasted for six innings, giving up seven hits, two earned runs and striking out four in an impressive debut coming off the DL. In fact, he probably would have went into the seventh inning if not for a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the sixth. He was only at 80 pitches at that point. However, you can’t blame manager Fredi Gonzalez for taking him out when he saw the chance to get some runs. Either way, Gonzalez and the whole Braves’ organization have to be encouraged about what they saw from their starting pitcher.
Besides allowing two solo home runs, he looked great. Minor had full control with most of his pitches, and when the time came to step up in a pressure situation, he did. The Giants are not an easy lineup to stop either, they are one of the more potent lineups in MLB. Therefore, to see Minor perform this well could be a great sign for the Braves going forward. He should only continue to get better with each performance as the season goes on, which means Atlanta might be adding another lethal arm to an already impressive starting rotation. The Braves’ pitching staff will be tough to beat with the addition of a good lefty to shake things up.