Texas Rangers: Mike Minor outduels Gerrit Cole to solidify series win over division rival
By Travis Koch
A tremendous start from Mike Minor gave the Texas Rangers a series win over the division rival Houston Astros. Texas is now 4-2 on the year.
Gerrit Cole and the Houston Astros vs. Mike Minor and the Texas Rangers. A 4-0 final score in favor of the ‘Stros would make the most sense, but the Rangers were actually on the winning side of said score yesterday evening. I guess that’s why they play the game.
Minor wanted to remind everyone of his great pitching abilities. One bad inning against the Chicago Cubs to open the season and Rangers fans seemed to be rolling their eyes. That’s not fair to the lefty that took over as the team’s ace after an impressive 2018 campaign.
Minor tossed seven scoreless innings against the Astros. He struck out seven, walked two and allowed just five hits. He shut down a very talented offense by commanding each of his pitches, particularly his fastball. Minor’s fastball was entering the zone consistently at 93 and 94 mph. He was throwing it inside, outside, low and high, all by design. Houston hitters couldn’t do much.
The 31-year-old has long been a fastball-reliant pitcher. According to FanGraphs, Minor has thrown the four-seamer 46.1% of the time so far this season. He threw it 48.9% of the time last season, and really threw it a lot back when he was with the Atlanta Braves — 56.9% in 2013 and 61.2% in 2015.
He’s mixed in his offspeed pitches more often as he’s developed as a starter, but his fastball remains the pitch in which he sets the tone. He certainly set the tone with it last night.
His velocity is up. 2018 saw an average fastball velocity of 92.8 mph from Minor. Thus far in 2019, the pitch is averaging 93.3 mph. He is of course fresh off an offseason, but a half mile per hour increase is certainly something to feel good about.
Thanks to Mike Minor’s performance, the Texas Rangers took the series over their division rival. They needed a great start after five shaky ones to begin the season. Texas is now 4-2 on the year, currently in 2nd place in the AL West. They’ll look to keep the momentum going against the Los Angeles Angels tonight. First pitch 9:07 CT.