Minor and Gearrin run into trouble in walk-plagued inning

VIERA, Fla. — In Mike Minor’s last start against big-leaguers before next week’s opening series, the Braves left-hander got a reminder that patient hitters make you throw strikes and gladly accept walks.

He  issued five walks and was charged with four runs and four hits in 5-1/3 innings of a 6-3 loss Thursday against the Washington Nationals. All the runs against Minor came in the sixth inning when he faced five hitters, walked two, and gave up two hits including a Ryan Zimmerman homer.

“I think they’re just good hitters,” said Minor, who had six strikeouts and said he felt strong. “A lot of those guys were taking a lot of the pitches I thought were quality pitches on 0-2, 1-2, 2-2, working the count. Seemed like they were aggressive early and working the count late. That’s where I walked I think five guys today.”

After walking only five batters in 14 scoreless innings in his first four Grapefruit League starts, Minor has nine walks in 10 innings over his past two starts, with seven hits and seven runs (six earned). The last two runs charged to him came after reliever Cory Gearrin  gave up a bases-loaded walk and triple to the first two batters he faced.

“I felt great the whole game,” Minor said. “It’s one of the better days I’ve had [physically], so I had no excuse. They’re just really good hitters. They’ve had a lot of [at-bats] and you can just tell, they were sitting back and not swinging at what I felt were quality pitches.”

He retired the first six batters and had five strikeouts in the first three innings, including consecutive strikeouts after a hit and walk to start the third. He got out of that jam and another in the fourth, when he induced a double-play grounder by Xavier Nady after giving up a one-out walk and a single.

““He was pretty darn good, in my opinion,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He commanded both sides of the plate against some pretty good right-handed hitters. It was good for him to have to get up and down six times [work into the sixth inning]. That’s a goal you want to get to with each pitcher.”

The walks didn’t hurt him until the sixth, when Danny Espinosa drew a leadoff walk and Zimmerman followed with the first homer in 24 innings off Minor this spring. After striking out Jayson Werth, Minor walked Adam LaRoche before Nady singled and Gonzalez brought in Gearrin.

Gonzalez said Thursday that Minor would start a game in the opening series at New York against the Mets, who have a lot of left-handed hitters. The manager hasn’t disclosed his Opening Day starter for Thursday or the rotation order, but Minor on regular rest would be in line to start Sunday’s series finale against the Mets.

Minor will have one more tuneup against the Braves’ “Future Stars” team on Tuesday at Triple-A Gwinnett’s Coolray Field. He said he’s eager to get the season started.

“I feel ready,” he said. “Today was another good day — I got stretched out a little bit more and felt like I had more endurance. I felt good throughout the whole game, even when I got taken out. Even though I wasn’t throwing strikes my arm and my body felt conditioned.

“I’m anxious just to get the season going and have games that count and have your starting lineup out there, all the guys going at once.”

Rough day for Gearrin

After having his first bad outing of the spring Tuesday against the Mets, the last thing Gearrin wanted was to walk the first batter he faced Thursday. Especially since there were  two runners on base and one out in the sixth when he replaced Minor.

The rookie sidearmer walked Wilson Ramos, and Brett Carroll followed with a triple off the right-center wall. Carroll cleared the bases and scored a fourth run on the play after shortstop Jack Wilson’s throwing error.

Gearrin recorded two outs and was charged with two earned runs, two hits and two walks and recording two outs. This after allowing two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning Tuesday against the Mets.

“It doesn’t matter when — you never want to have an outing like that,” said Gearrin, competing for one of two openings in the bullpen. “But it’s part of the game. I just have to adjust, learn from today and move on…. Obviously that walk to start is not what I’m wanting. I’ve got to make a better pitch to start that count right there with the bases loaded.”

Gearrin has been charged with four earned runs and four walks in 1-1/3 innings over his past two games, after allowing no earned runs and three walks in 9-1/3 innings during his first nine appearances.

“Just keep running him out there,” Gonzalez said. “That’s the situation he’s going to have to help us in — come in and get a ground ball, get a groundball double play. The last couple of times it hasn’t happened, but we’ll keep running him out there.”

16 comments Add your comment

Brava

March 29th, 2012
6:45 pm

My distrust of Gearrin has carried over from last season. I really wish the Braves would get another reliever from the trade market, as I do not want Gearrin to be another Proctor, costing us games, this season. I also don’t want to see O’Ventbrel and M&M being overused because this guy can’t carry his weight. Wish the Braves would stop being so damn cheap.

cowdogit

March 29th, 2012
6:48 pm

Same old crap, the pitching staff has no clue.

clint

March 29th, 2012
6:54 pm

Way too many IFS on this club.

war daddy lightfoot

March 29th, 2012
6:58 pm

Bout sums this crappy team up just right! SUCK!

Simpson's Homer

March 29th, 2012
7:07 pm

It’s odd that we dumped Jairo/Luis on the Indians for the equivalent of $250, with the excuse that he is “only a 1-inning pitcher”. Yet, Gearrin is likely to win that bullpen spot as the guy to come in and get “a ground ball or a double-play”…… That sounds like a 1-inning guy, at best! …. Seems a bit contradictory, not to mention Gearrin has had 2 lousy outings in a row..

On the other hand, If Flande makes the team, it makes some sense, as he’s a lefty who pitched very well this spring, and Robert Fish is injured. It’s a bonus if we can have 3 lefties in the pen. GO BRAVES!

John Adcox

March 29th, 2012
7:10 pm

So, how long till Peter Molan is back?

justafan

March 29th, 2012
8:07 pm

Trade Gearrin and keep the lefty’s (love lefty) ..Molan is a ? if he ever will be the same.
Rev should start at SS and Simmons in AAA…

Runnin

March 29th, 2012
11:33 pm

Hurry back Peter Moylan.

John A.

March 29th, 2012
11:39 pm

The Rev doesn’t have glove or range of Simmons. Simmons also has won a batting title….can the Rev lay claim to either?

gotigers72

March 29th, 2012
11:39 pm

Minor’s outing wouldn’t be so troublesome except that the sixth inning seems to give him trouble in a LOT of his starts up to this point in his career. The Braves are gonna need more than that out of he and the other starers to keep from wearing out their pen again this year. Check it out, the sixth inning seems to be when he hits the proverbial wall.

An earlier poster hit the nail on the head when talking about Gearrin. He is going to have to come through when called on in order to avoid Oventbrel having tired arms by the AS break. No excuses this year Cory, you supposedly have the pitches to get hitters out from both sides of the plate now. What you DON’T need to do is come in and walk hitters, especially the first hitter that you face.

castle

March 29th, 2012
11:58 pm

@Simpson’s Homer

Gearrin was going to make to team either way. Asencio was most likely traded away to make room for Yohan Flande, who can go multiple innings.

alanfalcon

March 30th, 2012
8:01 am

What is it with Freddie, seems he has no idea of what accountability is when it comes to his players (its just spring, I’m going to keep running him out there & etc.) its never that he should be further along or he’s got to improve, no wonder that we have questions.

billy bob

March 30th, 2012
8:22 am

I don’t think a good outing involves giving up six runs.

urban redneck

March 30th, 2012
8:55 am

i got baseballs autographed by ascencio and juan abreu last year. i’ll sell em both for the 12 bucks i paid for one of the baseballs………..the only other auto i have gotten in person is barbaro canizares. guess i should stop getting people’s autographs if i want them to remain braves. maybe gearrin will give me an autograph this weekend????

buster brave

March 30th, 2012
10:53 am

Asfar as Mionor goes, would have to believe when he got ahead of the National’s hitters that he didn’t want to show them his out pitches in those situations,being he will probably face them 4-5 times this season,ala Greg Maddox in the spring when he faced teams in the spring that were in our division and faced 19 times in the regular season.Gearrin has had a good camp and deserves a chance to start season with Braves and hopefully hold down his spot in the bullpen,or until a replacement for him is identified when the live bullete start flyin’.

Mark's for the Braves

March 30th, 2012
1:48 pm

The bullpen is beginning to worry me except for Medlen and O’Ventbrel.

Add your comment