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Minor trending down under Deadline scrutiny

Rangers lefty 0-2 with seven HRs allowed over last four starts
@Sullivan_Ranger
July 24, 2019

SEATTLE -- The possibility of Rangers pitcher Mike Minor being traded before next Wednesday’s Trade Deadline has taken an unexpected twist. Minor has not been pitching well of late in front of all those Major League scouts gathered behind home plate to watch his starts. There were at least a

SEATTLE -- The possibility of Rangers pitcher Mike Minor being traded before next Wednesday’s Trade Deadline has taken an unexpected twist. Minor has not been pitching well of late in front of all those Major League scouts gathered behind home plate to watch his starts.

There were at least a dozen attending on Wednesday afternoon at T-Mobile Park, and they watched Minor allow five runs (four earned) on eight hits and one walk over six innings in a 5-3 loss to the Mariners.

Box score

Minor, who gave up two home runs to first baseman Daniel Vogelbach, is now 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP and seven home runs allowed in his last four starts. The Rangers lost all four of those games during an overall stretch in which they have lost 15 of their last 20.

Rougned Odor hit a three-run home run off of Seattle starter Mike Leake, Odor's fourth homer in the last three games. But that was also Texas' only hit in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Minor was 3-0 with a 1.70 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP over five starts in June, so the obvious question is: Have all the July trade rumors affected him?

“You ask him, he’d probably tell you, 'No way,' but you can’t help it,” manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s human. He has made his feelings known, what he feels about it. Of course it’s going to affect him.”

Woodward was exactly right about one thing. Minor denied that the trade rumors have bothered him.

“I’m not thinking about it,” Minor told the assembled media at his locker after the game. “I’m thinking about eating after this.”

Minor offered no excuses for his rough stretch.

“After the All-Star break, I feel like I’ve pitched very poorly,” Minor said. “I haven’t executed a lot of pitches and haven’t put guys away, haven’t been in good counts, couple balls haven’t gone my way, and I’ve given up a lot of home runs.”

The game was scoreless in the bottom of the fifth, when Vogelbach led off with a home run. That was the first blow in a four-run inning. Odor’s three-run home run in the top of the sixth made it a one-run game, but Vogelbach delivered again in the bottom of the inning.

“I didn’t pitch very well, so ... yeah, I sucked today,” Minor said. “That one inning they got me, Vogelbach got me twice, bad pitches. Left them over the plate, no conviction in my slider.”

That’s the way it has gone for Minor this month after pitching so well and creating so much trade notice in June.

“I was just executing pitches, and now I’m not,” Minor said. “Every pitch I’m searching to try to find the rhythm, try to find the mechanics, try to find the release point. And then, when you take away certain pitches or don’t have confidence in certain sides of the plate in certain counts, it’s easy for the hitter.”

It’s unlikely that clubs are going to walk away completely from Minor after one month. He was still one of the best pitchers in the game leading up to the All-Star break. He will also have one more start before Wednesday’s Deadline. He is expected to pitch on Tuesday against the Mariners in Arlington.

Minor must be eager to at least get the Trade Deadline behind him and know one way or another where he’ll end up.

“I don’t know,” Minor said. “I honestly don’t care. I just want to pitch better. So I am eager for my next start. I don’t care about this month or it passing or the Trade Deadline.”

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.