Minor blasted for four homers in Braves’ 4-1 loss to Reds

CINCINNATI – It had the potential for a combustible mix. The Braves sent recently homer-plagued Mike Minor to start Monday’s series opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park, sometimes referred to as Great American Small Park.

The potential was fully realized. Combustion came in the form of four solo home runs off Minor, including three in a row with two out in the fourth inning of a 4-1 series-opening Reds win.

“I don’t think it was the ballpark,” Minor said. “The pitches were up. All of them were up.”

And Mondays remained down for the Braves. They are 0-7 with a total of 12 runs scored on Mondays, while every other day of the week is fine. (They are 26-10 and the league’s highest-scoring team on days that don’t start with M.)

Previously winless Mike Leake (1-5) came in with an 8.53 home ERA and proceeded to hold the Braves to two hits and one run in eight innings.

“Well, I think one [Reds home run] may have been a legit home run in a bigger ballpark,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Maybe the other ones are off the wall. But it’s there for both teams. We gave up three more than they did.”

The Braves had two runners on with two out in the ninth after walks by Dan Uggla and Brian McCann before left-hander Sean Marshall was brought in to face Jason Heyward, who flied out.

It was only the fourth loss in the past 15 road games for the Braves, whose NL East lead was reduced to a half-game over Washington after the Nationals beat the Phillies on Monday.

Minor fell to 2-4 while actually lowering his ERA from 7.09 to 6.96, a sign of how bad a turn his season has taken. He is 0-3 with 10.46 ERA in his past five starts, with 31 earned runs and a staggering 11 homers allowed in 26 2/3 innings. He served up multiple homers in four of those five games.

Gonzalez said he left Minor in the game through and after the homer barrage because it was a “teaching moment” to have him try to continue and finish strong after a bad inning, which he did. He retired the last seven batters he faced and allowed five hits and four walks with four strikeouts in six innings.

“I thought he did better in that fifth and sixth inning,” Gonzalez said. “His breaking ball started to have more depth to it. Hopefully he carries this on to his next start and learns from it.”

Of the career-high four homers Minor allowed, Gonzalez said: “It could have been the ballpark. [But] we didn’t hit. It was a weird game…. The old adage is that solo home runs don’t beat you. But we didn’t hit. We didn’t give him an opportunity. But I saw something in Mike today. I saw some growth in him.”

The Monday thing is probably just a coincidence. But it sure is getting odder by the week.

The Braves just beat Tampa Bay’s best pitchers, James Shields on Friday and David Price on Sunday. But on Monday, they didn’t get their second hit until the seventh inning against Leake.

“That’s why it is a crazy game,” Braves second baseman Dan Uggla said. “We didn’t have it tonight.”

Leake also started the Reds’ fourth-inning home run derby with the first homer of his career, which came on a 1-2 pitch with two out. Minor had been one strike away from getting out of the inning, with the score 1-1 and facing the pitcher, when things came unraveled.

“Yeah, all that happened with two outs,” Minor said. “I knew Leake was a good hitter. I’ve known him since college, and I knew he hit in college, too. So it wasn’t like I was taking him lightly. Obviously I was throwing him off-speed pitches. Usually you throw a pitcher a lot of fastballs. I was throwing him inside fastballs, changeups … he knew that was my best pitch, too.”

But on this night, his changeup failed him. Three of four homers were hit on changeups, including Leake’s.

“Early in the game it was a flatter pitch that didn’t have a whole lot of depth,” Minor said. “It was just on one plane and only had side-to-side movement. So it’s a lot easier for a hitter to keep their bat in the zone and hit it solid.”

Zack Cozart followed three pitches later with a home run a little longer than Leake’s, then Drew Stubbs hit his second homer of the game, estimated at 408 feet. Back-to-back-to-back jacks off Minor, each longer than the one before.

So much for that axiom about solo homers. Not when it’s four solo homers, especially four in the first four innings.

Plenty of times this season, the Braves have scoffed at a three-run deficit and stormed back to win. Not Monday. They’ve been the league’s highest scoring team on the road, but they mustered one run and two hits against Leake, who’s been one of baseball’s worst pitchers this season.

Leake had allowed 21 hits and 12 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings at home before facing the Braves, whose only hit through six innings was a first-inning homer by former Reds prospect Juan Francisco, who filled in for injured Chipper Jones. The Braves fell to 7-12 without Jones in the lineup (19-5 when he plays).

Asked if the Braves’ bad night at the plate was more about them or Leake, Uggla said, “It was both. He made good pitches. We only got two hits, so he was pretty much on. Those guys right there, when they have good stuff and they’re up here but they’ve struggled, those guys are dangerous, because his back’s up against the wall, so he’s bound to go out and do what he can do eventually.”

65 comments Add your comment

tvsportscaster

May 21st, 2012
9:55 pm

The Nationals beat the Phillies Monday night, not Baltimore.

NickGranite

May 21st, 2012
9:55 pm

Boomtown Rats – “I don’t like Mondays”. My understanding is we are 0-7 on Mondays. More statistical improbabilities…

Runner-

May 21st, 2012
10:00 pm

What the hell has Walker been doing to Freddie?? He’s messing with his mind, he kid had his swing figured out yet Walker decided to teach him to “pull”. Stupid, Freddie was having a monster season before that…

Scrappy

May 21st, 2012
10:04 pm

Minor’s singing the “Not Good Enough For the Show Yet Blues.” Fredi sings high harmony.

NickGranite

May 21st, 2012
10:05 pm

“The Braves fell to 7-12 without Jones in the lineup (19-5 when he is).”

I remarked on this on the brave’s yahoo blog. We seem more undisciplined without his steadying presence in the line-up. it just feels different. We’re going to have to find a way to replace this guy next year.

Lord Stanley

May 21st, 2012
10:07 pm

Instead of wasting your money on Facebook stock, put all your money on the next Braves opponent on Monday. :)

Big L

May 21st, 2012
10:08 pm

They sure pulled Jair fast, what is holding em back on Minor? This is the same guy who said play me or trade me?

ugafan13

May 21st, 2012
10:09 pm

Minor must go, the Bat Boy can pitch better than he can! Put Medlen in as starter and send Minor down and bring Terhan up! We can’t keep trotting Minor out like we did D. Lowe last year. As we saw at the end last year those games matter! Personally I thnk Monor is trying to pitch like Beachy and he is not a power pitcher!

Lord Stanley

May 21st, 2012
10:09 pm

Seriously how many of those Monday losses have been when Minor or Juergens has pitched

GoBravos124

May 21st, 2012
10:11 pm

Don’t need to pull the ball Freddie, you were on fire before trying to pull everything! STOP IT NOW and resume what you were doing . . . hitting to all fields! Minor has a BIG BIG mental problem . . . needs to stop thinking and just pitch and SLOW DOWN, you’re acting like the ball is burning your hand. Take a little time between pitches.

Overseas Braves Fan

May 21st, 2012
10:14 pm

I do not see quality “at-bats” today.

Minor Is A Major Loser

May 21st, 2012
10:14 pm

Looks like we are getting back to our no-hitting ways of last year.

Brandon

May 21st, 2012
10:16 pm

@Runner- who said that walker is messing with Freeman’s swing? Didn’t they say that freeman has one of the best swings in the game? Did you ever think that freeman is possibly just in a slump because of his own doing?

Mr. Magoo

May 21st, 2012
10:20 pm

This goes back to when Minor ticked off Bobby in 2010 by saying the Braves “over worked” him. Bottom line is Mike Minor is simply a big Wussy, and the W should be a P. Minor is one of those guys that its always going to be something or someone that is keeping him from being successful.

Minor seems to be able to give a couple of innings before he implodes. Why not swap him with Medlen. At least Medlen has heart. If having a lefty in the rotation is so important, trade for one. It’s not Minor.

Mr. Magoo

May 21st, 2012
10:20 pm

This goes back to when Minor ticked off Bobby in 2010 by saying the Braves “over worked” him. Bottom line is Mike Minor is simply a big Wussy, and the W should be a P. Minor is one of those guys that its always going to be something or someone that is keeping him from being successful.

Minor seems to be able to give a couple of innings before he implodes. Why not swap him with Medlen. At least Medlen has heart. If having a lefty in the rotation is so important, trade for one. It’s not Minor.

Ed

May 21st, 2012
10:29 pm

Minor, Hanson and DelGado all pitch scared. They do not trust their stuff. They just look frightened to be pitching. I am afraid Minor should NOT trust his stuff. I think DelGado will figure it out if FG keeps “trotting him out there”

Fredi Will Screw It Up Somehow

May 21st, 2012
10:35 pm

Great job by Fredi leaving him in after getting every hitter to a full count or homerun. Really helped them in the end, AMIRITE?!?!?!?!

Darth Obama

May 21st, 2012
10:38 pm

Fredi has to give the guy a chance to rebound. It’s part of managing. Now if he trots out Minor again, then that will be his fault.

Realbravesfan

May 21st, 2012
10:51 pm

Lets review…. Mike did not say play me or trade me….he said if I am not what you are looking for then I don’t have a problem with being traded. (Media loves to start crap) Also, should I remind all of you “Braves Fans” that Minor has a better track record than Glavine did his rookie year? Hmmmm. Food for thought. Maybe you all should give this guy a chance. Bobby Cox is a great judge of strength and he hand picked Minor. This kid actually has great skill. Do a little research and you might be surprised at what you find. I can’t wait until all of you eventually jump on his band wagon. Let him get settled and he won’t let us down. Braves fans are the most self righteous fans

farmer

May 21st, 2012
10:51 pm

Minor is killig us.. send him back down to learn how to pitch.. 3 straight homers with 2 out and the first one was to the other pither? you gotta be kidding me! put Medlen in the rotation Fredi.. that would be the smart move to make.. oh but wait, you are an idiot for a amanager, I forgot.. you have no business being a manager period.. we should sign Roy Oswalt but we won’t.. this is just going to keep getting worse.. FIRE FREDI!

Liberty Media can go straight to hades!

May 21st, 2012
10:52 pm

So you demote an All-Star immediately and give a rookie 6 or more chances….

Yep makes sense.

WBuckATC

May 21st, 2012
10:53 pm

One more start for Minor then they have to make a move.
Redmond was just named pitcher of the week in the international league. The guy has put up the numbers and I think if Minor does not do better next strat, let’s give him a shot. JJ is not anywhere near ready for the bigs right now.
They could also put Medlen in the rotation, but he is not ready to go 5 -6 innings at this time and it would wear the pen. The way Venters and EOF have struggled at times, he is needed there.

Tim

May 21st, 2012
11:20 pm

Anybody thinking JJ should return is on crack. He is even worse right now.

Justin

May 21st, 2012
11:37 pm

I wonder what would happen if minor faced the braves lol he would probably throw a no no

Fredi Will Screw It Up Somehow

May 21st, 2012
11:45 pm

“Bobby Cox is a great judge of strength and he hand picked Minor.”

He also kept playing Greg Norton once upon a time. Checkmate.

Liberty Media can go straight to hades!

May 21st, 2012
11:59 pm

Not saying that JJ should be brought back but Gonzalez is giving more consideration to Minor.

fordcobra

May 22nd, 2012
12:02 am

Back in 88 when Glavine started they all pretty much stunk, so it didn’t matter much. They Braves were supposed to get going this year. Time to send Minor for potty training and go out and get a proven starter, from what I read Oswalt is coming back, velocity might be off some but he is a veteran pitcher and being such, knows what it takes to win, if the ownership doesn’t change I don’t see the Braves ever returning to what they were for over a decade. Need money to go out sign front line pitching, not hope and pray for the rookies to come in and save them. Cole Hammels like him or not will be free agent next year, pony up boys, if you are serious about winning. Oh, yeah about Chipper can’t over come 4 home runs, by the the Kid a nice thought but he is not a saviour.

go-BRAVOS

May 22nd, 2012
12:04 am

The reason JJ was sent down was because he struggled in Spring Training and continued to struggle when the season started. Minor was pretty good in ST and has had his moments so far this year. Of course I can;t justify the 6+ ERA but he is just a rookie and people need to show some patience. By some people’s logic if the Braves listened ya’ll we never would have seen Glavine or Smoltz because they struggled early in their careers and would have been traded for a bag of balls or something. Just relax and let Minor settle in and he will be an above average pitcher.

Go Braves!!

go-BRAVOS

May 22nd, 2012
12:15 am

Medlen is not coming out of the bullpen to takeover as a starter, at least not this year. He is coming of Tommy John surgery and has never pitched more than 120 innings in a season majors or minors. Plus if Meds were starting and began to struggle then all you experts would be screaming for him to be traded or sent back to the pen.

Go Braves!

I_R_Human

May 22nd, 2012
12:20 am

I’m going to post the same thing on here that I just posted on my twitter

–From today forward Im going to boycott each game that Mike Minor starts. I will not watch or listen, I’ll just assume its an L #BoycottMinor—

I’m done with this. JJ was having issues and he got shipped out. This guy is giving up homers like they are singles. Something has to be done. I’m not sure if Julio Teheran is ready to step up, or Medlen or Livan or whomever, but something has to be done. I’m not sure about the whole Roy Oswalt thing, but just about anyone would be better right now than Minor.

To the people that say let him settle in, let him get his feet wet blah blah blah…add up the past 3 years he’s started 32 game (which is about normal for an entire season) over than span he’s 10-9, with an era that’s nearly 5.50, he gives up way more hits than innings pitched, and you say let him settle in??? He’s had 3 years to prove himself in some way, he sorta popped off at the mouth in the spring when he basically said start me or trade me, well his trade value is next to nothing at the moment. I know they want to keep him in there because he’s the only lefty in the rotation, but something has got to give.

Spring training is suppose to be the time for a pitcher to get his work in, settle in and get ready for the season. Not 2 months into the season when the team is in first place, and can’t count on said pitcher to hold up his own when his turn roles around in the rotation.

SG10

May 22nd, 2012
12:29 am

What’s with the Braves and their bad luck/scouting with the left handed starting pitchers? Here is the list of unsuccessful ones that I could think of since Glavine and Avery…and I am sure I am missing someone.
Bruce Chen, Damien Moss, Horacio Ramirez, Macay McBride (drafted as a SP), Chuck James, Jo Jo Reyes, Mike Minor (?)

In this period, we found Millwood, Hanson, Beachy..we also drafted Wainwright, Schmidt..just to name few right handed pitchers. At this rate, we should get left handed pitching from the market rather than developing internally..

I_R_Human

May 22nd, 2012
12:34 am

You can’t compare Minor to Glavine or Smoltz. Sure Glavine struggled in his first full season as a starter, but the team itself was horrible, and that can cover up a bad season by a pitcher when everyone else is just as bad. Glavine might have been 7-17 but his ERA was under 5, he pitched nearly 200 innings..FOR A BAD TEAM.

Smoltz’s first 2 seasons as a full time starter he pitched nearly 440 innings. with ERA’s of 2.94 & 3.85 and yet again for BAD TEAMS….

This team is good, has the potential of being great besides the lack of consistent starting pitching out of the back of the rotation. You can let Mike Minor run out there and get blasted every 5th day and go 5-15 or worse. It’s just not going to work.

john

May 22nd, 2012
12:39 am

It’s a bit painful to watch minor, think its high time he drops down to AAA

I_R_Human

May 22nd, 2012
12:43 am

SG10 —–
Only other lefty I can think of off the top of my head was Odalis Perez….

It’s kind of sad when you really think about it the last consistent lefty the Braves had in the rotation was another Mike….

Mike Hampton….

2003 & 2004 he was very reliable, and then hurt for the next three years…..

Kentavo

May 22nd, 2012
12:43 am

Chen has wound up having a decent career.

I_R_Human

May 22nd, 2012
12:45 am

John, I was actually thinking AA for Minor because then it would get him out of GA and away from the proximity of Atlanta and allow him to just pitch, maybe work out his issues.

gotigers72

May 22nd, 2012
12:57 am

What about J. Heyward? He’s drifted down into the .240s now, albeit with moderate power [5 homers, 15 RBIs]. Was hoping that these new hitting coaches would figure him out and get him back on his 2010 track.

I know little about hitting on the ML level, but it looks to me as if he is still trying to go out and around the ball on EVERY pitch, rather than going WITH the pitch. Pull happy in other words, causing him to roll over and ground out so much. That guy has so much potential, and the Braves need him so badly. Hope he can turn it around soon.

brave boy

May 22nd, 2012
1:29 am

1st place: Braves..nuff said.

Mitchell

May 22nd, 2012
1:55 am

Wow, four runs.

Minor might as well just hang it up.

That’s our worst pitcher? Four runs?!

Last time I checked we were pretty good on offense and Mike Leake was a T-shirt lifting Wynona Ryder wanna be piece of white trash.

Plus, I always thought solo home runs couldn’t kill you.

Oh well, can’t win ‘em all.

Mitchell

May 22nd, 2012
2:03 am

Okay, maybe that was a little harsh.

Clearly there’s a difference between calling someone “white trash” and “a piece of white trash.”

Leake is merely white trash.

Mitchell

May 22nd, 2012
2:05 am

Nothing more. Nothing less.

On the bright side, only 14 more Monday games left on the 2012 schedule.

That’s good news.

59bulldawg

May 22nd, 2012
3:15 am

“Next start”??? Are you kidding me??? His next start should be in the minor leagues somewhere!

David the Shepherd

May 22nd, 2012
3:36 am

All the Positive Pollys always accuse the Negative Nancys of showing up after a loss…where are you??!! LamoHomo, what’s your take on this game? I’m not panicking at all; however, when we only get 2 hits against a guy like Leake? You still believe in Fredi?? I am much more interested in this team than last year’s, but c’mon man…

[...] Minor blasted for four homers in Braves’ 4-1 loss to Reds [...]

alex

May 22nd, 2012
7:34 am

Bulldawgman49

May 22nd, 2012
8:32 am

It might time for Minor to go the the Minors.

bravo-n-knoxville

May 22nd, 2012
8:40 am

the reason jj was sent down is the same reason minor is getting torched…”ball in middle of plate syndrome” which equates to launched orbital sphere. period.

if you want to win in chipper’s last season, call up teheran, gilmartin, or redmond for a couple of weeks until oswalt can get ‘er loosened up so we can stick it to the phillies with rent-a-pitcher as they are accustomed to doing.

but please, no jj crap until he can dominate AAA hitters. otherwise, trade him (he will be non-tendered at season’s end anyway) for a couple minor leaguers before we loose him with zero return on that $5.5 million 2012 investment.

bvillebaron

May 22nd, 2012
9:01 am

Ed:

Hanson pitches scared? You must be watcching a different Hanson than the one who pitches for the Atlanta Braves.

Bobby Sox

May 22nd, 2012
9:06 am

Jason Heyward is the second coming of Jeff Francoeur. A solid .230 hitter

Winchester

May 22nd, 2012
9:12 am

4 HR’s in the game? 1 HR by the pitcher and it’s his first career HR? 3 back-to-back HR’s? Putting a HR pitching pitcher into a game with a small baseball park?

SPEAKS VOLUMES FOR MANAGEMENT AND THE PITCHER.

Winchester

May 22nd, 2012
9:13 am

Oh, forgot to mention, “just keep running him out there”.

Let's Go

May 22nd, 2012
9:22 am

I remember watching MLB network last year and one of their sportscasters made the comment that Minor may have reached his potential and what you saw was it. I didn’t believe it then but after the way he has pitched the last month you got to wonder if this is it. It might be time to swap Minor and Medlen around and maybe start getting Minor prepared to be a relief guy the rest of his career.

redhotsports

May 22nd, 2012
9:33 am

The Braves are in a pennant race. They cannot simply mail-in every 5th game as a loss. Minor has not developed at all. The odd part is that his “stuff” and velocity are better than what the Braves expected when they drafted him. He has not learned how to pitch at all. I would rather see Braves start a game with Medlen and plan to have Christian Martinez and Livan ready by 4th or 5th inning and let Minor go learn to pitch at AA. He has Major league talent, but right now an opposing pitcher takes him deep on 1-2 count with 2 outs.

Gene

May 22nd, 2012
9:50 am

It seems like Fredi and the rest of the team give up after falling behind. Bad pitching from Minor is no reason for pitiful hitting. Minor certainly has some talent and probably a bright future, but what manager leaves a pitcher in the game who gives up three homeruns in a row? Fredi is the one in need of a learning experience. When a pitcher clearly doesn’t have it, take him out!

Minor to minors?

May 22nd, 2012
10:01 am

Shane Sikes

May 22nd, 2012
10:09 am

quit watching early

Taxi Smith

May 22nd, 2012
10:40 am

Send “Minor” to the league with his name.

gr

May 22nd, 2012
10:50 am

I see a bad pattern.
Lowe was awful last yr- doing great now with another team.JJ was an all-star, now in the minors.Soriano was an ok reliever for the braves- outstanding for the rays. farnsworth was horrible as a brave reliever- great with the rays.minor had some decent games last yr- awful this yr.venters and o’flaherty have not been very effective this yr.

And a few yrs ago everyone wanted a new hitting coach? Did any of this happen ynder Mazzone as pitching coach?

Too Tough

May 22nd, 2012
11:05 am

About the hitting….I think the Braves were mentally out of the game. They were facing a now win pitcher, in a hitters ballpark and it showed with their swings. Let me tell ya…Freeman looks (as of late) like he is swinging at softball..he is definintely swinging UP not level. Bourne, wake up fella…take a pitch, get in the pitchers head, make them dread seeing U come up to the plate…All of the hitters need to work the pitch count…Mcmuff, swung a a 2 ball no strike pitch from a pitcher that was winless..way to go mccann, help the poor boy out instead of putting pressure on him….good greif…lets put this one behind us and regain the mentality of winning and doing what it takes to win….thought for the day…to all you Braves players….is anyone out working you in your profession? Be true to thine own self! Go Braves!

Mark's for the Braves

May 22nd, 2012
1:19 pm

Seems like the Braves just don’t play well in Cincinnati over the past few years. And yes, they seem to have the Monday ‘blues’ this season.

I think we will split the Reds in Cincinnati and that really wouldn’t be so bad.

I am anxious to see how we play the Nats when we get home. We need to start off showing them we can beat them this year with a sweep or at least 2 out of 3 wins.

BrandonLee49

May 22nd, 2012
2:34 pm

Ok, to let up a couple Homers, let’s Not get hyperventilated over it, but then to let up a Homer to a Pitcher ??? Strasburg hit his first last week… OK, what’s the deal Pitchers Jackin up on some Roids, or Pitchers facing Pitchers, losing FOCUS… C’mon… No Excuse for that !!!

submariner

May 22nd, 2012
3:30 pm

Give Minor a bucket-o-suds and send him into the stands. Cold Beer!!

BrandonLee49

May 22nd, 2012
3:47 pm

Nick; The Braves Best find a Way around Not having the steadying hand, because he’s a limited asset… It’s Past time everybody keeps using Jones as some kind of Steroid Crutch…. What is ST.Louis Doing??? Crying over Pujols immediate departure… NO they have Alternative Solutions that are getting the job Done, without all the Pujols’ Hoopla… It Gets Very Tiring listening to the Smae ol Whine… He’s been a Brave How many Years, and we Dominate the Division because of him??? Never have never will !!!! Get over it….

Scrappy

May 22nd, 2012
5:24 pm

GR, those didn’t happen under Leo, but these did: Avery (flamed out very young), Chen (never blossomed until after traded), Perez (wild as Charlie Sheen in “Major League”), Wohlers (lost the strike zone), Rocker (lost his mind), and so many others we traded or released, only to see them throw no-hitters or become 20 game winning All Stars. I loved Leo and love him still–but his was didn’t always work.

Sac Longchamp

September 26th, 2013
8:49 am

Minor blasted for four homers in Braves’ 4-1 loss to Reds | Atlanta Braves
Sac Longchamp http://www.appstld.net/

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