We may never see the Kris Medlen that went 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts last season, but last night showed signs of a pitcher ready for October. After struggling through the first half, Medlen finally was able to bring his record above .500, notching his 13th win of the season. He now sits at 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA. Medlen has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his past five starts, and is proving that he could be the front of the rotation arm the Braves are looking for in the postseason.
Medlen allowed two earned runs over 6.1 innings last night, striking out six and walking two. He showed great command over his fast ball and 2-seam, and provided the quality start that the Braves had needed after going on a four game losing streak, including a sweep by the Philadelphia Phillies.
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The Braves compiled five runs on five hits to back Medlen, all of which came in the 4th inning. The game deciding rally started when Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman and Evan Gattis fired off consecutive doubles. The Braves would send nine men to the plate that evening, giving Medlen all the run support he would need.
With a three run lead in the 9th, it was time for Craig Kimbrel to take the mound for his first appearance in six days. He showed no signs of rust as he retired the Marlins in order, striking out two. This gave Kimbrel his major league leading 45th save, and 35th in his last 35 opportunities. His ERA is now down to a staggering 0.92 with a 0.84 WHIP and 85 strike outs in 58.2 innings.
The Braves’ magic number is now down to eight with 19 games left to play. They still hold a 12 game lead after the Washington Nationals defeated the New York Mets last night. The Braves are in line for home field advantage in the post season, still grasping the best record in the majors. The Dodgers are just two games back in the race for advantage.