(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien)
Pittsburgh – Mike Minor gets the start today against the Pirates, and his first start in the majors since he made a spot start for Jair Jurrjens on April 6 in Milwaukee.
Minor gave up five runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 5-4 loss that day, looking a lot like an unsure rookie. He basically admitted afterward he battled some nerves, and it showed in his control – he walked the first three Brewers batters on 14 pitches. He was actually lucky the game wasn’t much, much worse.
Minor is a refreshingly honest guy and it showed up in some comments he made to DOB after that game.
“I just wanted to throw strikes right away, and I felt like I was kind of just babying it,” Minor said. “(I was thinking) ‘Throw a strike, throw a strike. And it just kept going on and on, ball ball ball ball. I guess it kind of scared me a little bit. I felt like I had the yips out there. I couldn’t throw the ball for a strike. I didn’t know where to go from there.”
He gets a clean slate today in place of Tim Hudson, who was skipped to give him some time to recover from back stiffness he suffered Friday night in Anaheim. Hudson is already playing catch and feeling better and on target to return Monday against the Padres.
Minor is scheduled to get another start Tuesday against the Padres, this time in place of Brandon Beachy, who is on the disabled list with a strained oblique.
Since that start in Milwaukee, Minor has gone 2-2 with a 2.56 ERA in Triple-A Gwinnett. He gave up 10 hits and four runs in his last outing but settled down after a rocky start to pitch eight innings. He’d allowed two or fewer earned runs in five of his six starts prior to that.
Chipper’s take on fan interference
As upset as many of you were about the run the Braves lost last night on a fan interference call, and the umpires ruling that Martin Prado had to stop at third base on a ground rule double, Chipper Jones wasn’t exactly pleased about it either.
Here was his take on it this morning.
“It was a good play by (the Pirates fan) because it saved his team a run,” Jones said. “Everybody in the ballpark knew that Prado was going to score, especially with two outs. But there’s nothing really you can do.”
Jones said the umpires told him Prado was barely around second base when the fan caught the ball in his hat. They went in to check the replay, but they couldn’t use it to see where Prado was on the bases, just whether the ball was over the fence when the fan interfered with it.
We spoke to Jeff Kellogg and his umpiring crew briefly this morning before the game and he confirmed that the umpires used replay simply to rule home run vs. double.
“It had fallen right down in his arm,” Tim Timmons said of the fan. “I thought it might have been above the fence.”
But whether the runners scores is up to the umpires’ discretion, a gray area Jones for one doesn’t appreciate.
“Doesn’t matter if a guy was stealing, doesn’t matter if there were two outs and the guy would have scored regardless,” Jones said. “I think there’s a lot of gray area with that rule right there. You take 100 balls that are hit into the gap with a (leadoff) guy on first and two outs for a double, 90-95 are going to score.”
The way it played out, it would seem fans would have incentive to interfere and help their team, a concept Jones agreed with.
“The only way to get them to leave the ball alone is to punish them,” Jones said. “And that’s what I was thinking: maybe these guys are going to make a point right here and say we’ll teach them a lesson. One of (the Pirates) fans reaches over and catches a ball, we’ll make it cost them a run. Then (Pirates manager) Clint Hurdle would have gone absolutely irate, got thrown out of the game, appealed to MLB and they’d be going through a big ol’ stink.”
As it was, no RBI, no stink. From what I’m told, the fan was escorted from his seat and the ballpark by security. The Braves won 2-0 won without that extra run. Let’s just hope Jones isn’t sitting on 99 RBIs at the end of the year.
Prado gets his first day off this season Wednesday. He fouled a ball off his foot last night that barked pretty good but he stayed in the game. He said this morning he’s not sitting because of a specific injury. Former Brave Matt Diaz is in the Pirates lineup today against lefty Minor. He’s batting sixth and playing right field.
1. Schafer CF
2. Gonzalez SS
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Hinske LF
6. Uggla 2B
7. Freeman 1B
8. Mather RF
9. Minor LF
Oh, and someone on the blog or twitter asked about Chipper Jones getting on Jair Jurrjens about something last night. I asked and it was actually about a miscommunication on the infield on a bunt play. It was on the fifth inning bunt play – a pop-up off the bat of Charlie Morton – that Chipper made a diving play on to keep runners first and second in a key sequence.
“I called the wrong bunt play and I jumped all over Jair after the play was over, and I was the one who got it wrong,” said Jones. “I thought we had put on the pick-off play and we actually put the wheel play on. So if I’d been where I should have been, I would have made that play standing up.”
Back in the dugout, Jones found out Jurrjens was right; they had put on the wheel play. The best he could do was offer Jurrjens a big bear hug.