Philadelphia – Mike Minor has given up 22 home runs this season, which is the second-most among pitchers in the National League behind only Joe Blanton, who has allowed 23 with the Phillies and Dodgers.
Minor has found a way to make peace with them, and not let them throw him off track.
It’s one of the ways he’s grown into his role in the Braves rotation and learned to be more consistent. Minor has allowed four home runs in his past five starts, but he also went 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in that time, heading into Tuesday night’s start against the Phillies.
“I’m not trying to say this in a bad way, but I’m kind of used to it,” Minor said. “I’ve given up a lot of home runs this year. So I just try to move on from it and try to keep it to solo shots.”
Never was it as bad as in Cincinnati on May 21 when he gave up four home runs in a 4-1 loss on May 21, including solo shots to three straight hitters including pitcher Mike Leake.
“It’s embarrassing, and everybody is seeing it on TV, family and friends back home,” said the ever frank Minor.
But Minor said he had pitching coach Roger McDowell in his ear, reminding him that despite the home runs, he gave the team six innings that night, and encouraging him to build off that.
“He said, ‘It’s not the home runs that are killing you because if they’re solo shots, You’re OK,’” Minor said. “’What’s killing you is a walk here, that guy (ticks) you off because you walked him, next guy gets a base hit because you’re not focused on the at-bat. Then the next guy gets a home run.”
All four of the home runs allowed in Minor’s past five starts have been solo shots. The Braves have won three of them. And the 24-year-old Minor is starting to get it.
“It’s a combination of just learning and experiences,” Minor said. “First full year in the big leagues.”