June 3, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen (54) pitches in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Kris Medlen came into the first game against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 1-6 record. If you simply looked at that to evaluate his success this year–before you laugh, let me assure you that those people are out there–you might think he’s had a pretty rough year. In fact, he has done a very good job as a starter for Atlanta so far; he’s just received little to no run support:
That changed for him tonight as the Braves erupted for three home runs (Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, and Freddie Freeman) and seven runs in total. The offense totaled ten hits and managed a solid strikeout to walk ratio of 6:6.
Medlen didn’t allow an earned run over his seven innings of work while striking out six batters and walking none. This isn’t exactly an overpowering Pittsburgh offense (especially not with Andrew McCutchen getting a rest) but it’s still great to see Medlen go out there and shut a team down. While I was watching him, he looked like he was locating his pitches better than he was at the start of the season and he seems to be improving each time he steps on the mound.
Another nice performance on the mound came from the rook, Alex Wood. He threw the final two innings and allowed one run while walking one batter and striking out three. This was the first time I saw Wood pitch and I was impressed with his fastball and curveball.
However, I am concerned with his delivery at first glance. It seems to be pretty violent and I have to wonder if it will lead to injury issues down the road.
I wasn’t aware of this before seeing him, but according to DOB, he has already had Tommy John surgery:
It would be nice, if that could be avoided again but his call up has been a great addition to the bullpen so far this year.
The Braves have been playing good baseball lately, and with this win they take a seven game lead over the second-place Washington Nationals. With the way our offense has been so far it’s an incredible thing to see and makes you wonder how big that lead will grow once/if the guys who are struggling can figure it out. At the same time, it would be surprising if the Nationals were to continue playing .500 baseball for much longer.
Regardless, it was a great start to the series, and with Mike Minor going next the odds are looking good for yet another series victory.