Minor feels like he's moving in right direction

Minor feels like he's moving in right direction

Minor feels like he's moving in right direction
WASHINGTON -- Mike Minor was not surprised Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to skip his turn once Friday night's game against the Nationals was postponed by rain. But the left-hander said he is disappointed that he will have to wait an additional six days to attempt to halt his recent struggles.

"The last two starts I've actually felt a lot better," Minor said. "That's why I think I was more excited to get out there [Friday], because I felt better this week. I think that's the biggest disappointment about it. I felt like I was getting somewhere, and now I get skipped."

Before Friday night's game was postponed, Minor was already scheduled to pitch with an extra day of rest. When he makes his next scheduled start on Thursday against the Marlins, he will be starting for the first time in 12 days. But given the 9.95 ERA he has produced in his past six starts, the 24-year-old left-hander can at least appreciate that the Braves have not yet removed him from the starting rotation.

This has been a trying season for Minor, who impressed during Spring Training and then produced a 3.42 ERA in his first four regular-season starts. In the six starts that have followed, he has surrendered 12 home runs and learned that he can no longer simply rely on his changeup to help him escape trouble.

Four of the past five home runs Minor has surrendered have come on changeups.

"At first, it was kind of a shock, because that is supposed to be my best pitch, the changeup," Minor said. "So I kept going to it and kept going to it. Now, I realize I just have to have more pitches to throw for strikes.

"I just feel like I don't set [the changeup] up enough. I don't throw the other pitches enough to counter-balance that. Then when I do throw it, it has to be perfect. It can't be up or over the plate, because I feel they're looking more for that pitch than the fastball."

According to Fangraphs.com, Minor has actually thrown his curveball and slider more frequently while minimizing the frequency that he has thrown both his fastball (62 to 57.2 percent) and changeup (19.2 to 18.6 percent) this year.

"I haven't thrown that many that were great changeups," Minor said. "But it used to be whenever I would throw a changeup, they would miss it ... hitters obviously weren't as good in high school and college as they are now. I just feel like hitters at this level are good enough to see it and sit on it."