With the second straight loss to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday the Atlanta Braves found out that they might have a problem. Their offense is capable but it is not good enough to carry the team alone. As long as they get pretty good pitching from all sides and dominance from the late bullpen arms they should be fine. However one key to the winning or losing of the division could have emerged as being starter Mike Minor. He could be the most important man on the team.
Minor is not going anywhere. Too many times the fans of baseball teams want to just throw out that a team needs to replace one guy with another. Take Minor out and replace him with David Price or something like that might be what they suggest. The problem with this is that MLB starters are not building blocks that can easily be interchanged. Minor is a critical part of the Braves starting rotation and if he cannot get his stuff together then they have a big problem.
Everyone knows this is an issue so there are things that could be done. Perhaps he needs to be skipped once through the rotation. The team could give David Hale one of Minor’s starts and work the bullpen through most of the game. Here is the situation. Julio Teheran is going to be the ace of the staff to the end. Ervin Santana is solid and Aaron Harang has been a life saver. Alex Wood is an ace in the making. All of that seems fairly consistent but the iffy thing and most uncertain is the status of Minor.
Last season he was good enough that he probably should have gotten the start in the opening game of the postseason against Clayton Kershaw. This is the same guy with the same stuff. The only question is whether or not he and the Braves coaching staff can fix what is wrong before they fall too far behind the Washington Nationals. If he can work it out then the Braves should have what it takes to overtake the divisional lead down the stretch. If not, they’ll be in a dogfight for the wildcard slots.