Originally written on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 10/14/14
Braves-relief-pitcher
ATLANTA Mike Minor had a simple explanation why the Colorado Rockies couldnt touch his pitches. I threw a lot of crap in there early, he said. I dont think they knew what was coming. If confusion was his best ally, he should employ it more often. Minor struggled with his control, as has often been the case this year, but he didnt allow a hit until the seventh inning on Wednesday night, leading the Braves to 1-0 victory over the Rockies. It was not only one of the top performances of his short career, it was another step in Minors yearlong maturation process. It showed how far hes progressed since his rough stretches earlier this season, when hits and walks would be magnified by more mistakes. Hes turned the page. Hes become a completely different pitcher, closer Craig Kimbrel said. Hes attacking guys, hes going right at them. He doesnt seem as timid out there on the mound. It seems like hes more in control when hes out there, and youve seen it with his outings. Hes really become a better pitcher. Minor slowly and gradually has become one of the Braves most reliable starters. Kris Medlen has made a sudden impact on the rotation, but Minors has been a steady climb since since May, when a string of terrible outings left him battling Randall Delgado for a spot in the rotation and on the team. A trip to Triple-A Gwinnett seemed to be in his future. But Minor has been remarkably consistent and efficient the past two months, allowing 20 earned runs in his past 69.2 innings for a 2.58 ERA since July 1. He hasnt given up more than four earned runs in a start since May 16, and he posted three starts in the past two months where he allowed a combined three runs in 21 innings. Thats lowered his seasons ERA from a high of 7.09 in May to its current 4.58. Minor wasnt dominant against the Rockies, walking four, but a ball didnt fall for a hit until Jordan Pacheco led off the seventh with a single. I didnt even feel like I was throwing that great, Minor said. Then I looked back. I actually didnt know until the fifth. I looked back and saw no hits. Because of a couple of walks, a couple of hard hits, I didnt really feel like I was throwing that great. He said he was wildly effective throughout, walking Carlos Gonzalez and Pacheco with two outs in the first, but they were left stranded. Minor also walked Dexter Fowler in the sixth and Andrew Brown in the seventh, but they also didnt hurt. The four walks were the most by Minor in a game since June 30. Its an area where hes shown drastic improvement. After walking 38 batters in his first 85.2 innings this season, hes allowed only 13 in his past 69.2. Not coincidentally, thats when his ERA started to plummet. Kind of just dodged them, I guess, Minor said. To me it wasnt one of my best starts, but like you said, on paper it looks good. I just got lucky enough. They had a couple of guys on and I got out of it again. My walks didnt hurt me this time. I didnt give up a home run. Thats always good. I just kind of dodged them. Minor had shown flashes of brilliance before, including a five-hit, eight-strikeout victory over Toronto on June 20, 2011, going 5-0 in a seven-start stretch last year and even throwing consecutive strong starts this past April. But the past two months have shown that Minor could be finally securing his spot in the Braves rotation for the next few years. His ERA during that time is a better indicator of his success than his 4-4 record (8-10 overall in 2012) because his teammates have scored few runs to support his pitching. But on Wednesday, one was enough. You can always say youve learned everything and youve learned a lot this year and next year is going to be better, Minor said. Every year is experience. Guys go through ups and downs, and its the way you handle it and the way you bounce back.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

Slava Voynov arrested on D.V. charge, suspended indefinitely

Report: Ray Rice could be reinstated within next month

Earl Thomas: Refs need to stay out of it and let us dominate

Browns lament ‘unacceptable’ loss to winless Jaguars

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview: Will Giants or Royals win it all?

NFL tweets graphic of recipients of Manning's 509 TD passes

Hockey fights of the week

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.