The Texas Rangers will send Mike Minor to the mound tonight against his former team. The lefty is primed for his best outing as a Ranger.
Mike Minor will take the mound tonight against the Kansas City Royals. Minor contributed his best major league season to Kansas City last season, posting a 2.55 ERA in 77.2 innings as a reliever. Now, he will look to shut his former team down as a starting pitcher with the Texas Rangers.
The matchup appears opportunistic for Mike Minor. First off, he has pitched comfortably at Globe Life Park this year. Over 29 innings at home, Minor has a 3.72 ERA and has held opponents to an overall .236 batting average. These numbers oppose his 8.38 road ERA, where he has allowed opposing hitters to an overall .333 batting average.
Mike Minor has struggled with home run allowance of late, giving up at least one long ball in each of his last four starts. However, the Kansas City Royals rank 29th in MLB with only 42 home runs. As long as Minor can keep Mike Moustakas in the yard, he should be able to minimize damage from one swing of the bat.
On the other hand, the Royals are MLB’s best contact team. Kansas City’s MLB-low 142 team strikeouts ignites an interesting matchup against Mike Minor’s impressive 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 2018. Though, Minor is not overly reliant on the strikeout. He focuses on putting the ball over the plate and not so much on forcing hitters to chase. But he does mix his pitches as well as anyone on the Texas Rangers staff. Naturally, having command of multiple pitches will result in high strikeout totals.
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The key to Mike Minor’s success against his former team will be fastball command and a fast start. He has pitched better than his numbers imply, though, as with many pitchers, he has been victimized by mistake pitches. Too often, Minor will let a fastball run over the middle of the plate and he will not get that ball back. His offspeed stuff gives opposing hitters fits, but a consistently well-located fastball can be the cherry on top. That is something for fans to keep an eye on while watching Minor pitch tonight.
His other concern should be eliminating a big inning early on. For whatever reason, Mike Minor has really struggled at the start of games. In 2018, Minor’s 1st inning ERA is 6.00, 2nd inning ERA is 6.00, 3rd inning is 7.00 and 4th inning is 8.64. He then follows with a 2.35 5th inning ERA and a 2.08 6th inning ERA. Odd, isn’t it? Most pitchers have it the other way around.
Incidentally, Mike Minor must limit the damage early. He needs to keep his team in the game from the start. Fingers crossed, but the Texas Rangers offense has a favorable matchup tonight against a modest Eric Skoglund for KC (hopefully Texas’ left-handed hitters will show up).
Tune into tonight’s game. I think we’ll see a dominant start from Minor, his best start in a Texas Rangers uniform to date.