Medlen, Braves need win — badly

 

  Phoenix — When the Braves won five of their last six on the homestand and swept Toronto, did anyone imagine they’d be in the position they’re in today? That is, having lost five of six on this trip to San Francisco and Arizona?
  Even the most pessimistic person on ye olde Braves/MIB blog probably figured the Braves could win two or three games on this trip. Right?
  Well, they can still win two. But they’ll need to do it today with the rookie, Kris Medlen, facing Max Scherzer, a good young pitcher whose awful luck seems finally to have turned.
  Remember Scherzer from a couple of weeks ago, when he beat the Braves with six scoreless innings of four-hit ball? Up until then, Scherzer had been 0-7 in 22 major league games (13 starts) despite a solid 3.39 ERA, .235 opponents’ average and 95 strikeouts with 34 walks in 87-2/3 innings.
  The Diamondbacks had almost never scored more than a run or two while he was in games, and about half the time they scored none while he was in.

Who or what might help the Braves break out of their malaise?

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  But beginning with that win in Atlanta, Scherzer is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three quality starts, and the D’backs scored five and six runs while he was in the wins (he got no decision against Florida while posting 10 strikeouts and three runs allowed in six innings, with only two support runs).
  Anyway, he’ll face a kid who’s still feeling his way. Medlen is 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA in two starts, with a .226 opponents’ average that’s good, but a .385 opponents’ OBP that most definitely is not. He’s issued seven walks and hit a batter in 8-1/3 innings, plus thrown a couple of wild pitches and balked once.
  There’s no question about Medlen’s talent. He’s got enough. He’s got a nasty curveball and a good three-pitch repertoire with a fastball that’s plenty hard.
  But the impeccable pitch command he had in the minors, which is a big thing that got him here, has been affected a few times by pressure or nervousness, however you want to put it. Basically it’s been bad inning so far in each of his two starts, bad enough innings to spoil his and the team’s chances of winning.
  In Medlen’s debut against Colorado, with his parents and girlfriend down in the primo SunTrust Club seats that Derek Lowe gave them for the game, Medlen was doing OK until he failed to retire any of four Colorado batters in a five-run fourth inning, when he hit pitcher Aaron Cook with the bases loaded.
  Last week in a four-run second inning at San Francisco, Medlen walked pitcher Tim Lincecum on five pitches to load the bases with two outs, before each of the next two batters drove in two runs.
Something about facing the pitcher in a sticky situation, I guess. Or just a fluke, more likely, that it’s happened against the pitcher twice. Now, if he hits Scherzer with a pitch today with runners on base and the game in the balance, well, then the Braves and Medlen might have a problem.
  If you’ve met the guy or seen interviews with him, or just looked at that baby face beneath that flat bill of his cap, you’re probably pulling for Medlen, and not just because he’s pitching for the Braves. You can’t help but feel bad for the kid when he’s been out there getting rattled in a couple of innings so far.
  I mean, there’s been so much scrutiny on him because he was the guy called up in front of his good friend and roommate, the People’s Choice prospect, the towering Braves Ace of the Future, Tommy Hanson.
  But Medlen can’t help it that he had a better ERA and WHIP (walks-plus-innings pitched) than Hanson at the time, when the Braves were looking to bring up the guy with the hot hand for a start or three before Tom Glavine’s anticipated return. (Glavine will make one more rehab start, at Single-A Rome on Tuesday, and barring any setbacks, will likely join the Braves’ rotation during the upcoming 10-game homestand).
  The timing worked out, and if Charlie Morton or Hanson had been dominating in their three or four starts just before the Braves made their decision, as those two have been dominating since, well, maybe they’d have gone with one of them.
  As I mentioned a couple days ago, Morton’s name was on the list of Braves on the numerical roster printed on the lineup cards distributed in the pressbox here in Arizona the first couple of games in the series.
  It seems a pretty obvious sign that the Braves had considered using Morton in this start today against Arizona, after Medlen
  But there was nothing in Medlen’s makeup or performance in the minors to suggest he might be especially rattled in his first couple of starts. Quite the contrary. The little man has moxie. It’s just not been real apparent here yet in the majors, because he’s looked nervous and he’s fallen behind too early.
  It’ll be interesting to watch him today. The Braves badly need a win before they go home, so they can at least avoid losing both series (a win would give them a split of this four-gamer) and the worst road trip they’ve had in a while.
  They had three 1-5 trips last season, but none worse than that. A loss today would leave them with a 1-6 scar of a record for this roadie.
  Perhaps the Braves could do the kid a favor and jump out to an early lead against Scherzer, maybe help Medlen relax a bit. He doesn’t have the home crowd or the familiar sites and sounds of Atlanta here, which might be good. Less pressure, you know? Maybe. We’ll see.

 ♣  OK, here we go. Game’s on. In a good mood after hearing Van’s “Tupelo Honey” on the stadium PA during batting practice. By the way, for those who might have missed it in comments this morning on the last blog, Matt Diaz is in right field today. Bobby Cox said he wanted to give strugging Jeff Francoeur a day off, after having Diaz spell center fielder Jordan Schafer yesterday (at least for the first five innings, before Cox brought in Schafer for defensive reasons with the Braves ahead 2-0).
  Oh, and I talked to Chipper Jones again this morning about his foot, since he’s limping so noticeably. He said the toe’s not feeling any better, even though the dark bruising has faded and most of the swelling is gone.
  The fact that it still aches has him concerned, but he said he was told that an MRI wasn’t needed yet because X-rays indicated there was nothing in the way of ligament or other tissue damage. He just has really bad feet, with the bunions and all, and he’s going to have these problems.
  That said, the Braves doctors also indicated that if it didn’t get better, they’d recommend an MRI. That could happen during the long (10-game) homestand that starts Tuesday.
  Chipper said if it doesn’t get any better soon, he might “have to get off of it.” In other words, DL. But for now, he and the Braves hope that can be avoided.

 ♣ That’s it. Game’s about to start. We’ll close with one of my favorite Lucinda Williams tunes, which she did during her terrific show last night at the Mesa Arts Center. Seen her seven or eight times in the past 15 years, and that show was probably the best of them all. If you get a chance, go check out Lu with her remarkable band, Buick 6, which has to be the most rockin’ band she’s had.

“PINEOLA” by Lucinda Williams

When Daddy told me what happened
I couldn’t believe what he just said
Sonny shot himself with a 44
And they found him lyin’ on his bed

I could not speak a single word
No tears streamed down my face
I just sat there on the living room couch
Starin’ off into space

Mama and Daddy went over to the house
To see what had to be done
They took the sheets off of the bed
And they went to call someone

Some of us gathered at a friend’s house
To help each other ease the pain
I just sat alone in a corner chair
I couldn’t say much of anything

We drove on out to the country
His friends all stood around
Subiaco Cemetery
Is where we lay him down

I saw his mama, she was standin’ there
His sister, she was there too
I saw them look at us standin’ around the grave
And not a soul they knew

Born and raised in Pineola
His mama believed in the Pentecost
She got the preacher to say some words
So his soul wouldn’t be lost

Some of us, we stood in silence
Some bowed their heads and prayed
I think I must’ve picked up a handful of dust
And let it fall over his grave

I think I must’ve picked up a handful of dust
And let it fall over his grave

 

 

1,618 comments Add your comment

Boo

May 31st, 2009
4:18 pm

Best lineup of the season.

Hope Cox says it’s because Francoeur has been awful rather than his usual “scheduled off-day” spin.

MariettaDerek

May 31st, 2009
4:19 pm

Let’s get DP to C, boys!

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:21 pm

Today’s movie?

Brandon

May 31st, 2009
4:22 pm

Lets see what Medlen can do….

TnBrian

May 31st, 2009
4:23 pm

That DP by Garret was definitely not double pits to chesty! OMG, please forgive me DOB/bloggers! I don’t know what just got in to me.

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:23 pm

I heart Chipper.

Steve OH

May 31st, 2009
4:24 pm

HAHAH! Medlen walked the lead off guy up 2 runs! What a loser.

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:24 pm

Looks like Loaf and Kotch are giving us a tag-team version of Frenchy today. 4 straight hitters on base and we get 2 runs and 2 rally killers, Sheesh!!

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:25 pm

With Medlin’s 10 ERA I sure hope we can score 20 or so.

Supes

May 31st, 2009
4:26 pm

Yeah…how about that Garret Anderson? Professional Clean up hitter you say? How’s that DP working out for all of you Anderson excuse makers?

No HR and slow as a turtle, plus a noodle arm in LF, limited range. Why is he on this team? Oh that’s right…Frank Wren didn’t see a need to address our LF situation like he did our SP.

I truly hope Medlen pitches well enough today to get the win, or to help the Braves to a win. Needs it for his confidence. With Tommy G coming back soon, it’ll suck for Kris to go down back to AAA without anything positive to build on. We all saw what confidence can do to a young pitcher, or lack there of – Charlie Morton last year.

cabravesfan

May 31st, 2009
4:27 pm

that works- nice throw Mac!

Frank from KS

May 31st, 2009
4:27 pm

LMAO@TnBrian

:>)

Jeff321

May 31st, 2009
4:27 pm

Nice throw by McCann.

MariettaDerek

May 31st, 2009
4:27 pm

WOO-HOO! That strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out was DP to C for sure!

BravesFanChris24

May 31st, 2009
4:27 pm

Strike Em Out Throw Em Out DP!

woogidy

May 31st, 2009
4:27 pm

Someone needs to go tell Medlin that Babe Ruth is dead. Geez. He’s pitching too careful. It’s friggin’ Augie Ojeda

Braves Paisan

May 31st, 2009
4:27 pm

I think it was in Baseball Prospectus that Garret Anderson was called “an out machine.” He should not be hitting higher than 7th in any line-up at this stage in his career.

Virginia Ranger

May 31st, 2009
4:28 pm

Talk about rally killers. When is Bobby going to get kicked out of a game, must be some sort of record going

The Truth

May 31st, 2009
4:28 pm

Why do all Braves drafted pitchers suck?

Kyle Davies, Charlie Morton, Jo Jo Reyes, Kris Medlen, James Parr, etc. The list goes on.

jed

May 31st, 2009
4:28 pm

buick 6? that has to be a highway 61 revisited reference eh?

TnBrian

May 31st, 2009
4:29 pm

Good, I was starting to get a little nervous there, but that Ojeda just helped us there swinging at ball 4.

ccrider

May 31st, 2009
4:29 pm

ccrider

May 31st, 2009
4:20 pm
To all those out there that are willing to trade, Medlen and Morton for a rest of the season rental like Derosa and others. Medlen and Morton are 23 and 25 years old and both have the stuff to be a quality starter or better. A trade for an outfielder like Hawpe, who has a proven track of some sucess at the major league level and is under team control for a couple of more years, might make sense. Derosa might be worth a couple of lower level prospects or reyes and a lower level prospect, but not Medlen and Morton that have been dominant at AAA

Boo

May 31st, 2009
4:30 pm

I wouldn’t trade Medlan for a rental, but Morton I would. Morton isn’t going to be good in my opinion.

braves phanatic

May 31st, 2009
4:30 pm

in all seriousness, was that mcann’s first caught stolen base of the year?

BravesFanChris24

May 31st, 2009
4:31 pm

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:32 pm

That was grown man running moves right there.

Facts of Life

May 31st, 2009
4:32 pm

The Brave offense is rallying to score knowing full well their rally-killer, Jeff Francoeur, isn’t around to ruin them.

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:32 pm

Bottom of the 1st was encouraging…. Good results Kris

The Truth

May 31st, 2009
4:32 pm

Diaz is a better player than Jeff Francoeur. Trade Francoeur.

Frank from KS

May 31st, 2009
4:32 pm

DOB

This might sound like a stupid idea to some of the fellow bloggers……..but is there any chance ya could get Don Sutton, Joe Simpson, or Jim Powell on the blog sometime? I think that would be pretty cool.

groundfog

May 31st, 2009
4:32 pm

diaz deserves to play everday-right field is the place.

David O'Brien

May 31st, 2009
4:33 pm

Just added a poll to the blog. Execute your right to vote, people!

kirkinga

May 31st, 2009
4:33 pm

Good post ccrider. Giving away a potential solid #3 or even #2 starter for a journeyman is beyond bizarre.

Supes

May 31st, 2009
4:33 pm

ccrider,

put me in the group that DOES NOT want to see Medlen or Morton traded for a 3 month rental like DeRosa.

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:34 pm

But today’s 5 and 6 hitters could just “out-Frenchy” Frenchy if they repeat their 1st inning antics

common sense

May 31st, 2009
4:34 pm

so whats up with frenchy not playing today?

Braves Paisan

May 31st, 2009
4:34 pm

DOB, are you assuming we are all citizens?

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:34 pm

lol @ Reliever who threw 169 pitches in 13 innings for U. of Texas.

Supes

May 31st, 2009
4:35 pm

DOB,

thanks for the “higher power” option, exactly my feelings on this poll question!

common sense

May 31st, 2009
4:35 pm

derosa is a good ballplayer and to trade for him would be fine but only if its for more than just 3 months.

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:35 pm

I’d like to see Sutton in the Braves Dugout giving advice to Medlin (or to Bobby)

Tomahawkin

May 31st, 2009
4:37 pm

Pathetic Road Trip….! Nuff Said!

I said it before Plain and Simple excluding D-Ross, this has been a display of Uninspired baseball over the entire roadtrip

I know this trip isn’t over but they seem like they are just trying to get to the next off day. I don’t boo when I go to games but I Would if I was at the game tonight. It’s one thing to get shut down by great pitching but it’s another to don’t care about getting Punk’d by the Jubroni teams of the league

It seems like we love to lay down against the Garbage teams of the league

cabravesfan

May 31st, 2009
4:38 pm

DOB-

I’ve been meaning to ask you if there is a reason KJ is wearing that sleeve on his right elbow- has it been bothering him? Or is it just one of those quirky superstitious things that players do? Just wondering…

The Truth

May 31st, 2009
4:38 pm

Kelly is going to do exactly what he did yesterday. Lead off hit. 0′fer after that. He is average.

Paul Lentz

May 31st, 2009
4:38 pm

Matt Diaz starts in right field today. I like that. I hope Bobby gives Diaz a few games to show what he can do. If anything, it gives the pitcher one less “easy out” option.

The next time the Braves face a left hander, I hope that Bobby puts Prado left field. I just dont want to see Franceour in there anymore. There is a difference between a hitter going 0-4, yet his at-bats cause the pitcher stress….and a hitter going 0-4 and his at-bats causing the pitcher little stress.

common sense

May 31st, 2009
4:38 pm

i would like to see anybody be our hitting coach other than pendleton

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:39 pm

DeRosa is a .279 career hitter — of course, every year as a Brave his average went down. I guess that was the TP effect???

David O'Brien

May 31st, 2009
4:39 pm

RHR, no movie today. They had a baseball game on the big screen.

Goldenglove002

May 31st, 2009
4:39 pm

I’m going to be at one of the upcoming Oakland vs. SF games. Be a sneak preview of Holliday, who SHOULD be with this team in the next few weeks. The Braves need him, and Billy Beane should be smart enough to know that his team is not going to win this year and won’t be able to resign Holliday after the season ends.

Virginia Ranger

May 31st, 2009
4:39 pm

Does anyone know if there is another team whose leading home run hitter has 5 or less much like the killer b’s?

cc well put

Tomahawkin

May 31st, 2009
4:40 pm

No to DeRosa…If we are gonna trade for a 2 month rental then go all out and get M. Holliday or Jermanine Dye

Frank from KS

May 31st, 2009
4:40 pm

I voted for Holliday or another major bat….but I think a combination of that and Glavine coming back and stablizing the backend of the rotation would help, emensley(sp).

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:40 pm

Get em on, leave em on — Bobby ball!

Braves Paisan

May 31st, 2009
4:40 pm

One thing is certain: we should NEVER trade anybody to Texas ever again.

Paul Lentz

May 31st, 2009
4:41 pm

Chipper and McCann, and Escobar are basically carrying the offense. Every few games the Braves will get a big hit from Johnson or Kotchman. However, Franceour is killing our offense. How much support does dude need? He has played 597 career games in the Majors. In his past 204 games, he has hit 14 homers. FOURTEEN!!!!!!

By the way, nice going Medlen. 2 strikeouts in the first inning. The kid has good stuff. When he calms down, he has the chance to be a good pitcher for us. Keep throwing him out there. I will be sorely disappointed if the Braves bring up “5 inning” Glavine.

David O'Brien

May 31st, 2009
4:41 pm

Jed, you gotta check ‘em out. They covered Led Zep and did it justice. The drummer’s terrific, and one of the guitarists also got on the drums while the drummer played some exotic drums and other stuff in front of his regular kit. So they had two guys banging away on percussion at once, and it was tight. The whole band sounded like they’d been together for years and years, and I don’t think they have been.

Tomahawkin

May 31st, 2009
4:41 pm

Yeah Joe and Boog…

The Braves are the only team the Nationals can beat on a consistant basis, Go Figure?

keylargo

May 31st, 2009
4:41 pm

Medlin line today will be: 6ip 5h 2r.

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:42 pm

There goes the No Hitter!

Fluffy McNutter

May 31st, 2009
4:42 pm

Goldenglove002

The Braves can’t afford Holliday’s salary. Have fun at the game though.

God

May 31st, 2009
4:43 pm

A higher power

My powers are unlimited, but not even I can make Francoeur get on base.

Paul Lentz

May 31st, 2009
4:43 pm

I am a TRUE Braves fan. I’m 37 years old. I’ve been a Braves fan since the 1982 season, which means that I’ve been a Braves fan since before Jeff Franceour was born. I’ll be a fan far long after whatever career Franceour has left is over with. Point is, I want to see the Braves win. Franceour may be a nice guy. However, my loyalty is to the team. He has had plenty of opportunity to “come around”. The point passed long ago where “the slump” became “the trend” with Franceour.

Braves Paisan

May 31st, 2009
4:44 pm

Man, Medlen has got breaking stuff!

Virginia Ranger

May 31st, 2009
4:44 pm

Rojq you are on top of your game today. Keep the pearls coming

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:44 pm

Medlin line today may be: 6ip 5h 2r; but the Bull Pen line will be 3ip 8bb 5h 7r

PI Braves

May 31st, 2009
4:45 pm

Kelly is going to do exactly what he did yesterday. Lead off hit. 0′fer after that. He is average. – The Truth

I wonder what you’d say if he was 0-fer in the past 2 games! Tough crowd to please.

Frank from KS

May 31st, 2009
4:46 pm

Paul Lentz

I’d feel a lot better with *5 inning Glavine*…then *3, 4, inning or so Medlen*

kirkinga

May 31st, 2009
4:48 pm

Medlen’s velocity is up today.

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 31st, 2009
4:48 pm

DOB, hope you don’t mind but with tomarrow being an off day, I’m inviting your readers to check my show on blogtalkradio.com, The SPORTS BUFFET at 9p ET. Call-ins welcome, the number is 347.324.5735.

Now back to the game.

Insider

May 31st, 2009
4:48 pm

My sources tell me Francoeur is traded and it’ll be announced after the game today or on the off-day tomorrow.

Braves Paisan

May 31st, 2009
4:49 pm

Tell me you want to trade this kid for a half-year rental infielder!

Rodney Derrick

May 31st, 2009
4:49 pm

McCann wearing glasses behind the plate. What fixed the fogging problem? That strike out and throw out of the man stealing second in the first may turn out to be the turning point in Medlen’s career. McCann showing confidence in Medlen’s control with that pitchout

David O'Brien

May 31st, 2009
4:49 pm

Kid’s looking good since that opening walk.

Here’s a clip of Lucinda from Letterman a while back, with her new band rockin’ out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oPgZoXZ1Z0&feature=related

Virginia Ranger

May 31st, 2009
4:49 pm

Now that they have scored runs, can the Braves Awfense take the rest of the day off—see yesterday

Paul Lentz

May 31st, 2009
4:50 pm

Fluffy McNutter, if the Braves traded Franceour (he’s due to make $2 mil the rest of the season) and didnt bring up Glavine (he’s due $3.5 mil if he sticks for the rest of the year), then the Braves would have $5.5 mil to go towards acquiring a big bat. He’s due around $8 mil the rest of the year. In essence, Holiday would cost $2.5 mil. So dont tell me that it isnt workable.

By the way, 2 more strikeouts for Medlen in the 2nd. Dude is actually locating his pitches well. Medlen has good stuff. I saw that in this first start. Sure he got rocked. However the stuff is there.

Goldenglove002

May 31st, 2009
4:50 pm

I think if Wren wants to win he can find a way around the large salary. The Braves are actually still about 7 million dollars below last years salary according to Cots. So I have to think there is still some money.

PI Braves

May 31st, 2009
4:51 pm

With the rate medlen’s going (56 pitches in 2 innings), I wonder if he’d go beyond 5 innings.

Tomahawkin

May 31st, 2009
4:51 pm

There We Go ESCO

I love it when he goes the other way, and use all fields

I hope Frenchy was taking notes

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:51 pm

They had a baseball game on the big screen.

Well that’s encouraging. :)

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

Insider @ 4:48 – We wish! But DOB takes good care of us, he would have at least hinted if any thing of the sort was going on.

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

4Ks already — looking good Medlin. Hope you can hit, too!!

Tomahawkin

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

There We Go HOSSSS!!!!!

Goldenglove002

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

Goodbye baseball

BravesFanChris24

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

Boo

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

Chipper for President, 2012.

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

MAMA, THERE GOES THAT MAN!

PI Braves

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

Insider, what are the details of that “supposed” trade that will be announced after the game today or on the off-day tomorrow??

Paul Lentz

May 31st, 2009
4:53 pm

Frank from KS, Medlen is going to be more than a 5 inning guy. Plus he is a lot cheaper. I have visions of Glavine throwing 100 pitches (because he nibbles so much) and barely getting into the 5th inning and having to leave with the bases loaded.

Escobar drives another double, this time to right. Damn….opposite field homer for Chipper. Drove it too….Take note Franceour.

kirkinga

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

For those watching the D’back’s feed, the lady with the white Braves cap looks likes she’s about to go off!

Just like Chipper just did!

keylargo

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

BMac got credit for that HR on the graphic.

"Chef" Tim Dix

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

Chipper: Bad feet, great eyes.

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

Chipper has a big….bat.

Vinings Jim

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

Good timing on joining the festivities for me!

Virginia Ranger

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

Most important questions. What is the name of the song they play at the Ted when a Brave hits a home run? I do not know but it does wear well.

Couch Tater

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

He toe up that pitch.

Braves Paisan

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

Let’s see what Medlin can do with four runs. He has the stuff. Does he have the inner peace?

– Bhagwan Braves Paisan

David O'Brien

May 31st, 2009
4:54 pm

Chipper showing some major opposite-field power with that stroke, eh?

RHR

May 31st, 2009
4:55 pm

Well done, Couch Tater.

Roja

May 31st, 2009
4:55 pm

Maybe the Phils will get desperate for a good short relief guy and swap us Howard for Bennett and Kotch.

NCBravesFan

May 31st, 2009
4:55 pm

Gotta love Chipper. Says a nice word to Medlen on the mound in the first, then backs it up with a bomb to give the kid a little more breathing room.

That there is leadership. .

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