After a career year for the Braves in 2013, left-hander Mike Minor hasn’t been the reliable starter they urgently need in the rotation this season.
The Marlins knocked around Minor during a 6-5 victory at Turner Field on Tuesday. The Braves, who entered the day a game behind the Nationals in the NL East, lost for the third time in five games since the All-Star break.
It was Minor’s first start since the break and the results weren’t much better with the extra rest. He lasted just three-plus innings against the Marlins, who got to him for 10 hits and six earned runs, and the Braves couldn’t pull off a late rally.
In 2013, Minor’s second full season in the majors, he posted career bests in ERA (3.21), wins (13), innings (204.2) and strikeouts (204.2). There was reason to believe he could be an experienced anchor in the rotation behind Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy and Julio Teheran.
When Medlen and Beachy were lost for the season with elbow injuries in spring training, Minor was thrust into a more important role. So far he hasn’t handled it well.
After Tuesday’s game Minor’s season ERA stands at 5.32. He’s allowed four or more earned runs in four of his last five starts and opponents have 10 or more hits against him in five of his 14 starts overall.
At the Cubs on July 12 Minor allowed six runs and 11 hits over six innings but earned the win when the Braves posted an 11-6 victory. The Braves’ offense couldn’t bail Minor out this time in spite of facing Marlins starter Jacob Turner, who was making his first return start since being demoted to the bullpen in mid-June.
Turner entered the game 2-6 with a 6.22 ERA but the Braves managed just four hits in five innings against him. After Justin Upton’s two-out, solo home run in the third, the Marlins retired 13 consecutive batters.
The Braves finally came alive with three runs in the eighth.
Braves pinch hitter Tyler Pastornicky led off with a walk against Marlins reliver Mike Dunn and Dunn hit B.J. Upton with a pitch. Tommy La Stella scored Pastornicky with a single and Jason Heyward knocked a two-out, two-RBI single off of Bryan Morris before Evan Gattis hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.