Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marlins @ Braves: Game 1 Recap

Raise your hand if you never want to see that odd lineup again. The game went the way I sort of expected. We hit the ball ok, but we went 1-9 with RISP. Minor had 3 good innings, and then self-destructed in the 4th and 5th. Now, I can sit here and bang on the kid because you know I'm not a fan, but that's not constructive. Instead, I'm going to explain where he's going wrong and what has to change so can be an effective starter in the majors.

Minor's ERA is over 7.00 now. He became the first pitcher in 3 years to give up 6 or more runs in 4 consecutive starts. The fact is, he can't work his issues out at the major league level, and we need to get JJ back up and healthy so Minor can get some time in at AAA. There are some things that are causing Minor issues:

1- His ground ball to fly ball rate is only 0.60, meaning he gives up a lot of fly ball outs. Now, some of you may have heard of a thing called "fly ball" pitchers. I hate that term, and I don't believe in it. I've never heard of a grounder leaving the yard, but I sure have seen some fly balls do major damage. The closer you get to a 1-1 rate, the better. As an example, Hanson has a 0.98 rate this season, Delgado is 1.09, Beachy is 0.79, and Hudson is 1.52. When, you look at Minor's numbers in this category, they need to improve.

2 - Minor makes bad 2nd and 3rd pitches when he faces hitters. Hitters are hitting .303 when Minor is ahead 0-1 on them, and .300 at 1-0. They take the first pitch, and then smack him. Hitters are .200 on 0-2 counts, and worse they are .300 on 1-1 counts. If Minor gets past pitch 2 & 3? Suddenly his opposing batting average goes to .231.

3 - He snowballs when he gets into the stretch. Nobody on base? Hitters are slugging a paltry .339 against him. Put a guy on base and send him to the stretch? Hitters are slugging .766. Oh, if there are RISP and two outs? Hitters are batting a robust .462 average against him. He can't get himself off the hook. In the same way I described how Tim Hudson can work his way in and out of jams, Minor isn't there yet.

When you look at this game, it was all about Minor's issues with guys on base, and our issues hitting with guys on base. Simple as that. I expected a loss, so I'm not horribly concerned, especially given the bizarre lineup that doesn't include Michael Bourn at the top. Don't take my boy out Fredi! We need him! Also, JayHey looks weird in center. I don't like it. Props to Prado for continuing his hot streak, though. The dude's batting .444 over the last seven days. He's white hot, and we need to take advantage of the way he's swinging the stick.

I think we'll get ample chances with Beachy on the mound tonight.

Go Braves!

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