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Braves Vs. Brewers: Mike Minor Makes Spot Start As Braves Go For Series Lead

The Braves look to take the series lead in the third game in Milwaukee as they face the Brewers at 8:10 on SportSouth.

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Freddie Freeman, 1B
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Matt Young, CF
9. Mike Minor, SP

Brewers Lineup:
1. Rickie Weeks, 2B
2. Carlos Gomez, CF
3. Ryan Braun, LF
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Erick Almonte, RF
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
8. Wil Nieves, C
9. Marco Estrada, SP

Mike Minor (2010: AA: 82 IP, 3.84 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 3.51 BB/9, 11.3 K/9)
(AAA: 33.1 IP, 1.89 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 3.24 BB/9, 10 K/9)
(MLB: 40.2 IP, 5.98 ERA, 3.77 FIP, 3.65 xFIP, 2.43 BB/9, 9.52 K/9)
Marco Estrada (2010: AAA: 40 IP, 3.15 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 2.48 BB/9, 7.43 K/9)
(MLB: 11.1 IP)

Minor wasn't expecting his 2011 debut to come this early after being sent down to AAA for Beachy. However, with the injury to Jair Jurrjens, Minor will receive at least two spot starts in his absence. Minor surprised many in his very successful 2010 campaign, vaulting from AA to the majors quickly. He proved capable of handling the majors in his first couple starts with Atlanta before tiring at the end of the season. His main goal this year should be building durability.

Estrada was called up from AAA Nashville to make the start in this game. The 26-year-old right-hander pitched all of 51 innings last season, and only 11 in the majors. In 2009 for the Nationals AAA team, he recorded a 3.63 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 136 innings, including a 2.18 BB/9. Estrada has displayed solid control numbers throughout his minor league career, but his strikeout totals have steadily decreased as he progressed through the minors, a sign that his stuff doesn't play well in the upper levels. Estrada's fastball sits around 90 on the gun, and he throws a balanced mix of curves and changeups.

Opposing Numbers:
Estrada has all of 31.1 career MLB innings, so it's not surprising that the Braves have very few at bats against him. Chipper has the most with two.

The Brewers are in the same boat with Minor. Morgan is hitless in two at bats. Nieves is 2-2 with a double and RBI.

What to Look For:
The Braves busting out the bats against the minor leaguer. Estrada doesn't have overpowering stuff and doesn't have punch out ability, so the Braves need to take advantage and let this get the offense on the right track.

Fredi Gonzalez is rolling out a different lineup tonight, starting Young over Nate McLouth in center field and batting him eighth. Freeman is hitting second in a surprising move. It may not be Heyward, but it's a step up from McLouth, even if it's just for a day. Good call in giving Young a start this early.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.