Had the second wild card team been in place last season, it would have made the Cardinals World Series run a little less dramatic, but the Atlanta Braves would have been happy. The Braves were the team that the Cardinals caught at the end of the season to edge out for the one NL wild card position. The Cardinals carried that momentum into the playoffs. The Braves had the winter to wonder what went wrong. Now, this Friday, the Braves have a shot at redemption as they send a pitcher who just had his name written in the record books.
Mike Matheny announced that Kyle Lohse, up for Cy Young consideration, will start the game for the Cardinals. The Braves will send reliever turned starter Kris Medlen, who didn’t make his first start until July 31st, to the mound.
Medlen is 9-0 as a starter this season and the Braves are 12-0 in games that he started. What’s even more impressive is going back to the 2010 season, the Braves have won 23 straight games that Medlen has started, a Major League record. Since the beginning of 2010, the Braves have won 25 of Medlen’s 26 starts overall. This year, Medlen’s ERA went from 2.48, while in the bullpen, to 1.57 since starting.
However, ten of those 12 starts have come against Miami (3), the Mets (3), San Diego (2), Houston and Colorado. Those teams are a combined 141 games under .500 with a .413 winning percentage. To Medlen’s credit, he also has two wins against the Nationals where he’s allowed just one earned run on 12 hits over 14 innings combined while striking out 20.
Medlen, 5’10, 190 pounds, is not afraid to use both sides of the plate. He’ll challenge right handed hitters with a fastball that runs in and he has a sharp dropping curveball. Against lefties, he has a nice two seam pitch that will break away at the last moment.
If both pitchers are on their game on Friday, don’t expect much offense. Check out video on Medlen during Chipper Jones last regular season game at home.