Texas Rangers: Trade influencing start for Mike Minor tonight
By Travis Koch
Every start for Mike Minor will be under a microscope leading up to the July 31st trade deadline. The Texas Rangers will hope he dominates the Astros tonight.
Game number 97 on the season is a big one for the Texas Rangers. Losers in four straight, they’ll go up against Justin Verlander and the Astros in Houston tonight. The Rangers will hope Mike Minor can put a stop to a rough stretch.
Win number 51 on the year would be welcome, though, on a rare occasion, that’s not the top priority. The top priority is getting an outstanding start from Minor. That should set the Rangers up for a win anyhow, but it will also validate the club’s high expectations in terms of trade value for their ace.
Sporting an 8-4 record and a 2.73 ERA, Minor is one of the hot names on the trade market. A couple of teams have already expressed interest in him, and it seems increasingly likely that he’ll be moved prior to the July 31st trade deadline.
If the Texas Rangers opt to sell, they’ll want to maximize the value of their greatest trade chip. In order for that to happen, Mike Minor will have to pitch well in however many starts he has left with his current team.
He’s been fading as of late, pitching completely out of character over his last two starts. July 2nd against the Los Angeles Angels, Minor pitched just 4.1 innings, allowing three earned runs and four base on balls. His next outing didn’t come until July 13th, thought it presented more of the same, as he tossed five innings, gave up four runs and walked three against the Houston Astros.
His ERA leading up to those two outings: 2.40. His combined innings pitched in the two starts prior: 17. The last thing the Texas Rangers need is a bad July from the guy who has triggered so much praise throughout Major League Baseball.
Mike Minor needs to get back on track tonight. Seven strong innings against a deep and powerful Astros offense would be just what the doctor ordered. Who knows? It could be the last seven innings he pitches in a Texas Rangers uniform.
Hopefully Minor brings his usual intensity. He was expressly perturbed when asked about surrounding rumors by the media the other day. He didn’t hold anything back, making it clear that he wants to stay in Texas.
Unfortunately for him, his situation is too opportunistic for the Rangers. Not only is he among the best pitchers in baseball this year, but he’s also signed to a team-friendly contract through next season. He is the ideal plug for a contending team.
Texas simply needs him to pitch well to sweeten incoming proposals. There will surely be a few scouts in the house tonight to be swayed one way or the other on the desire for a deal. We’ll see what Minor brings to the table.