On Friday night, Mike Minor displayed his talents to the world as he took on the high powered and very dangerous team of the St. Louis Cardinals. Coming into the game, St. Louis held a 62-37 record, winning four straight games and swept the Philadelphia Phillies right before coming to Atlanta. The Cardinals hold the best record in the National League and the entire league combined. This is a huge series for the Braves and thanks to some great pitching, we got off on the right foot.
Mike went seven complete innings last night while only giving up four hits and one earned run. He struck out five batters and didn’t allow a single walk. The only run he gave up was the solo home run to Molina in the 2nd inning.
In a battle between two first place teams and in front of a sold out 50,000 yelling Atlanta Braves fans, Minor proved what he is capable of. While the staff, players, and fans are only a few days removed from the horrific injury of Tim Hudson and losing the teams “ace” (if you will), Minor gave the lift of hope that we have a terrific left handed pitcher sitting in our rotation.
When asked if he can be the Braves next “ace”….
Mike responded with “I feel like that’s not really my role. I go out there every fifth day and just try to pitch. With Hudson going down, that was our ace, that was our best guy. We just need everybody else to step it up a little bit.”
Minor now leads the Atlanta rotation in innings pitched, ERA, fewest hits allowed, strikeouts and wins.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez spoke on Minor’s great night and stepping up “Mike Minor doesn’t have to do anything. He’s been this good for a while. We saw him growing up and getting better this time last year, you look back at some of his starts. Let’s let him dictate his own career, and let’s not start putting labels or anything of that kind of stuff yet, but he’s a darn good left-handed pitcher right now for us.”
Wainwright spoke about Mike ”I think I just have to tip my hat.”
Minor didn’t just do things on the mound though, he also helped himself out at the plate. Minor had an RBI single off Wainwright in the 2nd inning that gave the Braves the lead and they never looked back. Minor swung on the first pitch he saw and roped a ground ball to left field scoring Dan Uggla.
“Usually when you’ve got the pitcher up there, if you throw a first-pitch slider, he’s not hacking,” Wainwright said. ”And if he is, it’s an out usually. But he made a good swing on it.”
Chris Johnson continues to swing the bat well as he had two more hits Friday with a RBI and a run scored. Jason Heyward blasted his eighth home run of the season in the 5th inning as he continues to raise his batting average which now sits at .223 for the season.
Craig Kimbrel picked up with 29th save as he shut the door on any hopes for a comeback. He struck out two hitters and now holds a 1.41 ERA for the season.