If you go to the Braves Journal Glossary at the top of the page, you will see a page consisting in a number of old inside jokes from this blog, which has not been updated in quite some time. One of the terms defined on this page is “Episode”:
Episode: When Tim Hudson suddenly loses the ability to get anyone out, to the degree that it is surprising he has full control of his limbs and his bowels, he is having an Episode. Usually in the sixth or seventh inning. (Added January 20, 2007.)
That was after Hudson’s extremely shaky 2006 season, when he had a 4.86 ERA and looked like Derek Lowe before Derek Lowe. Since then, of course, he has been pretty much awesome. But the term describes Minor to a T — except that his Episodes occur any time after the third inning. (From innings 1-3, opposing batters have a .675 OPS against him. From innings 4-6, opposing batters have a 1.075 OPS against him.)
He will have innings where he looks completely in control. And then he will have an inning where he completely, utterly, loses all command of his fastball, missing the strike zone completely and then compensating by grooving a pitch right down the middle.
Today, Minor reached a new low by giving up back-to-back-to-back homers to pitcher Mike Leake, leadoff hitter Zack Cozart, and #2 hitter Drew Stubbs, who also homered in the first inning. Those four homers accounted for all four of the Reds’ runs. But lest you think that Minor was reasonably solid except for four mistake pitches, he also walked four guys in six innings. If you can’t command your fastball, you can’t pitch in the majors; it’s really that simple. He needs to be in Gwinnett, rediscovering his mechanics, his confidence, and the catcher’s mitt.
That said, Minor’s teammates hardly acquitted themselves any better, managing a pathetic two hits against Leake, a guy who came into the game 0-6 with a 6.21 ERA. Other than a mammoth Juan Francisco solo shot in the second, the Braves offense did their best collective Jack Wilson impression.