Royals call on experienced Mike Minor in bid for sweep


Mike Minor was brought to the Kansas City Royals during the offseason to provide veteran leadership in the starting rotation. The 10-year veteran has more starts (205) than the other five starters currently in the rotation (153), and more than half of those (81) belong to Brad Keller.

Minor can often be seen talking with various members of the rotation.

But is the conversation always one-sided?

The Royals will host the Houston Astros for the final game of a four-game series Thursday afternoon, looking for a sweep. The Astros will send RHP Luis Garcia (9-6, 3.30 ERA) to the mound to face the lefty Minor (8-11, 5.35 ERA).

The Royals won their third straight against the Astros Wednesday. Hunter Dozier’s two-run home run in the seventh inning provided the winning runs.

“I hope all of our guys are learning–everybody learning from everybody,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said Wednesday. “That’s the ideal atmosphere where we’re trying to learn new things from (each other).

“I believe Mike Minor does that. You’ll see (him) talking about different pitching grips, pitching philosophy and work patterns. It’s been a give-and-take with this pitching staff where they’re all bringing something to the table.”

Matheny said that’s new to today’s game.

“Back in the day, if you didn’t have at least a few years of service under your belt, you weren’t offered an opportunity to give your opinion,” he said. “But I’m watching these guys move past that, realizing that everybody has something to bring.”

Garcia has had plenty of chances to learn from veterans on the Astros such as Wednesday’s starter Zack Greinke. He’ll be making his first career appearance against the Royals.

He’s hit the ground running in 2021 with a solid season. He started with three straight losses before picking up his first major league win. That started a five-game winning streak.

He’s won his last two starts and has given up two earned runs in 11 innings.

“He used his breaking ball well,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said after Garcia allowed two hits and no runs against the Twins Aug. 7. “His cutter, he didn’t leave any in the heart of the plate. His command was really good. Usually he gets to 80 pitches in the fifth but he was able to get through the sixth. He was very good tonight.”

Minor, who is 3-4 with a 4.81 ERA in 16 appearances (13 starts) all-time against the Astros, embraces the opportunity to teach his teammates.

“I’ve been around Hall of Famers,” he said. “I’ve been in Atlanta when they brought all those guys back. I was around John Smoltz, Steve Avery, Tim Hudson and Derrick Lowe. I learned a lot from those guys.

“I’ve been in the big leagues for 10 seasons, so I’m more focused on helping those guys and telling them what they’re going to feel or the experiences they’re going to have or the mindset they need to have. There are lot of valleys and a lot of hills. You’re going to have your highs and lows. They need to stay humble on the highs and have the confidence in themselves when they’re on the lows. When you get hit around in a couple of starts, the confidence goes away quickly.”

–Field Level Media

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