ARLINGTON, Texas – Atlanta Braves left-handed AJ Minter made history with his first start of the race on Friday. Then he did it again in his performance.
After becoming the first Major League Baseball pitcher to make his debut in a posteason game, Minter defeated seven Los Angeles Dodgers in three innings, the least in a playoff release of three or fewer innings, starter or reliever.
Minter, who was not announced as the Braves starter for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series until Friday morning, was a lockdown reliever for the Braves this season but did not take more than 1⅔ passes or 36 pitches a journey. He left Game 5 allowing a hit, no walking and no running on 42 pitches.
The Braves could get their first World Series trip since 1999 with a Game 5 win.
Manager Brian Snitker appointed Minter as his opener – a high-leverage relief pitcher who usually threw the first inning to face the top of the order. Minter made it back to leadoff hitter Mookie Betts, who he hit looking for the inning cap where he punched the side – all looking – and a five batter stretch where he punched Cody Bellinger, AJ Pollock, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor and Betts.
Minter, 27, last started at Texas A&M, where he attended college, in 2015. In his last start for the Aggies, he injured his elbow and asked to have surgery on Tommy John.
On a regular basis, the Minter exploded 24 of 21 mga smokes.
His three-pitch mix – a 95 to 97 mph fastball, a tough slider and a change – shook the Dodgers. Their starter Dustin May, who is actually a starter, was released after two smokes as Los Angeles finished 2-0.