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Kris Medlen hurls shutout in fourth start for Braves

Aug 16, 2012, 11:19 PM EDT

Kris Medlen Getty Images

Kris Medlen was so impressive while filling in for Tommy Hanson that the Braves had already decided to go to a six-man rotation in anticipation of Hanson’s return this week. Tonight he ensured that someone else is going to the pen if they opt to return to five starters next month.

Making his fourth start after 38 relief appearances, Medlen pitched a shutout against the Padres on Thursday. Backed by two homers from Chipper Jones, he allowed five hits, walked none and struck out six in the 104-pitch gem.

Medlen had a 2.48 ERA as a reliever this season, but he’s been even more spectacular as a starter. He’s allowed just three runs in 25 2/3 innings to date, good for a 1.05 ERA. The Braves have won all four of his starts.

How Medlen will hold up as a starter is the big question mark. The Braves knew they were taking a risk when they shifted him from the rotation to the pen in 2010, and he ended up hurting his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was kept in the pen initially this year in part because the Braves were confident about their starters but also because they wanted to save wear and tear on his arm.

Still, there wouldn’t seem to be any going back now. Depending on how Hanson looks in his return and whether Ben Sheets and Paul Maholm can continue their surprising success, it’s possible Medlen will be the Braves’ second or third starter in the postseason, should the team advance.

  1. mississippimusicman - Aug 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Is it just me, or does it seem like whenever a Braves starter tanks, Wren somehow manages to pull a quality starting pitcher out of thin air? First Sheets, then Maholm, and now Medlen are all crucial to the rotation now, and at the start of the season, one was out of baseball, another was with the Cubs and got picked up for a guy on the DL, and Medlen looked to be nothing but a swingman in the pen. There’s gonna be a total logjam at Spring Training next year, even if they don’t get to keep Ben Sheets.

    • hasbeen5 - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      Medlen is no surprise though. He looked pretty damn good before he got hurt, and seemed to pick up right where he left off out of the pen.

  2. bravojawja - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    It was only a matter of time before Medlen came into his own as a starter. He was waiting in the wings for a while (it seems like it, anyway) before he got hurt.

    The fans gave him a nice ovation when he came to bat in the 8th. It’s too bad all the local coverage is about Chipper going double yakko on his bobblehead night instead of talking about a young pitcher’s first complete game shutout.

    • bravojawja - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM

      Or yicketty. Sorry. I have Animaniacs on the brain.

      • professormaddog31 - Aug 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

        First of all, now I’m gonna sing the theme song all day and wonder if they lock the Warner Brothers and Sister in the giant Coke bottle at Turner Field.

        Secondly, it’s because everyone knows good pitching isn’t glamorous. I mean, I watch games for good pitching but I know I’m a rare bird. Everyone else wants to see dudes go yard.

    • GoneYickitty - Aug 17, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      “Double yakko” is just plain fantastic. You’re officially my new best friend.

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