Is Mike Minor the Braves ace?
Braves starter Mike Minor is off to a great start with a 6-2 record and a 2.47 ERA so far this season. Minor also has the fourth best ERA in Major League Baseball since the 2012 All-Star break.
Minor has arguably become the Braves ace, and along with Kris Medlen and Julio Teheran gives the Braves a dynamic, young nucleus in the starting rotation.
Mike Minor spoke to 680 The Fan’s Kevin McAlpin before Wednesday’s home game against the Twins. Kevin was kind enough to let me record the conversation for use.
Kevin McAlpin: How difficult was it to have back-to-back ten game road trips early in the season?
Mike Minor: It’s tough, you don’t even really know the days and you just go one day to another and just try and do the best that you can and try to get as many wins as you can. When you are home that is when you want to try and capitalize.
Kevin McAlpin: Do you feel all these road games early in the year will benefit you later in the year with all the home games at the back-end of the season?
Mike Minor: You try and win all the games you can at home and hopefully it will help in the back half.
Kevin McAlpin: You are off to a fast start this season, what do you think has been the key so far?
Mike Minor: What I did last year was a big confidence booster. I’ve been working with Roger (Roger McDowell, Braves pitching coach) and making sure that everything is working. I’m throwing more strikes, throwing more strikes in, throwing more fastballs in, attacking hitters, just a combination of all those things, making better scouting reports than just going with the flow, thinking what I am doing out there and setting up hitters and actually thinking about getting the guy out rather than just throwing the pitch.
Kevin McAlpin: Is that the biggest change, just trying to simplify things?
Mike Minor: Yeah, it is one of the biggest changes and trusting your stuff and going after guys and having confidence in every pitch.
Kevin McAlpin: How nice is it to have an offense behind you that can put up a lot of runs?
Mike Minor: It is big because I’ve said before that we don’t ever panic. Whether it is at the beginning of the game or at the end of the game we still feel there is a chance with whoever is up there at the plate we can either hit a home run or drive in a run. I feel like one through nine if Huddy is pitching (Hudson walked by when Minor said that) we got guys that can drive guys in.
Kevin McAlpin: How nice is it to have McCann back?
Mike Minor: It is comforting as a pitcher to throw to a guy like that and for him to go up to the plate it is one more guy that a pitcher or the other team has to worry about.
Kevin McAlpin: With the injuries in the bullpen, how challenging is it to go deeper into the game?
Mike Minor: You want to go as long as you can and that has been one of my goals this year to go at least six and maybe seven, eight or nine. I don’t have a complete game yet and Julio jumped me last time he pitched with 8.1 innings. Friendly competition so I was kind of mad about that. But I’m trying to stay in the game as long as possible and that goes back to attacking hitters and attacking the strike zone.
Kevin McAlpin: When you look at Julio do you see yourself last year growing and learning on the fly?
Mike Minor: Yeah, for sure. This year you can tell how much he has improved or improved on the fly a lot quicker than I did last year. It took me a while there where I had a big skid and couldn’t get anybody out and everyone was hitting home runs off me. But yeah, it is nice to see.
Mike Minor’s 2013 Stats Capsule:
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com:
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