Medlen belongs in Braves rotation rest of season and beyond

SAN FRANCISCO – There was an email in my box this morning from a Braves fan (and one of our blog regulars), who just wanted to say how much fun it was to watch Kris Medlen every time he pitched, how it had become “must-see TV” in his house. And I understood exactly what he meant.

The Braves have won 16 consecutive games started by Kris Medlen, breaking a franchise record previously held by John Smoltz.

The Braves have won 16 consecutive games started by Kris Medlen, breaking a franchise record previously held by John Smoltz.

But beyond his demeanor, energy, and overall assured (and assuring) presence on the mound, there are ways to quantify why Medlen needs to stay in the Braves rotation for the rest of the season and, assuming they make it, why he should be a starter throughout the postseason.

And beyond.

First, the obvious: The Braves enjoy playing behind him and win when he starts. They have won a remarkable 16 consecutive games started by Medlen going back to 2010, breaking John Smoltz’s franchise record of 15 team wins in a row when he started.

Medlen is 9-0 with a 3.01 ERA in 19 starts since beginning of 2010 season, including Wednesday’s win at Washington. and the Braves are 18-1 in those games. Since moving from the bullpen to the rotation this season, he’s gone 4-0 with a 0.83 ERA and .222 opponents’ average in five starts, with 29 strikeouts and five walks in 32-2/3 innings (after posting a 2.48 ERA in 38 relief appearances).

He has the athleticism to field a ground ball while running toward the first-base line, spin and throw to the plate to cut down a runner when almost every other pitcher would have (by necessity) taken safer route and thrown to first, not to mention the ability to dive out of the way of a flying bat shard headed directing toward him as he did last night, then step right back on the mound and continue pitching with the same tenacity.

But beyond that, Medlen is just better as a starter than as a reliever, versatility notwithstanding.

He’s the type of right-hander who is as good or better against lefty batters as he is against righties, because of his change-up (similar to the way lefty Tom Glavine was so good against right-handers). And Medlen not only excudes confidence and and aggressiveness that is noticed by his team and the opposing team, but also has intelligence to process loads of information at once and to think ahead.

That latter quality is one that often isn’t mentioned publicly in discussions of starting pitchers, but players, coaches, managers and scouts all notice it and know how big a factor it can be.

He is the type of pitcher that should have a game in his hands from the outset, and some of his main assets are wasted when he does not, when he’s thrust into various situations not of his doing. True, his mental and physical talents enable him to work out of some difficult situations and are thus a strength to the bullpen, but the same could be said for untold number of starting pitchers in the past.

And they weren’t used in the bullpen role just because they could thrive there. They were used as starters because they belonged there, dictating the flow of games and giving there team an excellent chance of winning almost every time they went to the mound.

Which brings me to another telling stat, one that is a product of all of the aforementioned factors. Simply put, Medlen gets better as he gets deeper into games, rather than pitching an inning or two in relief. Here’s what I mean:

In the first through 15th pitches he’s thrown this season, he’s allowed a .248 opponents’ average and .269 opponents’ OBP. In pitches 16-30, that climbs to a .293 average and .341 OBP. But then look what happens:

In pitches 31-45, those figures plunge to an .056 opponents’ average (2-for-36 with 10 strikeouts) and .150 opponents’ OBP.

In pitches 46-60, Medlen again has allowed a puny .056 opp avg (1-for-18, 10 strikeouts) and .190 opponents’ OBP. And in pitches 61-75, it’s a .231 average and .231 OBP (no walks).

Medlen has surrendered just two extra-base hits (both doubles) in 92 at-bats after his first 30 pitches, compared to 14 extra-base hits in 223 at-bats in pitches 1-30.

Seems pretty obvious that he’s more effective after he’s been in games for a while, right?

But to bring this back around full circle, back to what his teammates think, consider again what Chipper Jones said about Medlen after he pitched seven scoreless innings in last night’s 5-1, sweep-averting win at Washington, running his scoreless innings streak to 20-1/3 innings.

After Medlen's win at Washington on Wednesday, Chipper Jones compared him to a former teammate of some note. Yes, to Greg Maddux.

After Medlen's win at Washington on Wednesday, Chipper Jones compared him to a former teammate of some note. Yes, to Greg Maddux.

“He’s one of those guys that is pretty quiet, but he always walks around like maybe he knows something you don’t,” said Jones, comparing Medlen to a former teammate who was pinnacle of that description, none other than, Greg Maddux.

“He’s got Doggie’s kind of presence out there on the mound. He’s not a big guy, but he walks out there like ‘I know I can get you out.’ And he’s got a few different ways to do it,” Jones said.

Maddux.

When the team’s 40-year-old third baseman and future Hall of Famer compares a young pitcher to one of the greatest living ballplayers and the best-ever Braves right-hander, can you even consider moving said young pitcher back to middle relief or setup work?

No. In my opinion, Medlen has to stay in the rotation. For the rest of this year and beyond.

One other thing, one subject of Chipper: The Giants just announced plans to honor him before tonight’s series opener. Most teams have waited till last game of series, but not all. It’s varied in a few other cities. It might be tough for any team to top this Nationals’ tribute to him on Wednesday.

BRAVES LINEUP

  1. Bourn cf
  2. Johnson rf
  3. Prado lf
  4. Chipper 3b
  5. Freeman 1b
  6. Uggla 2b
  7. McCann c
  8. Janish ss
  9. Hanson p

• August numbers: Just when the Braves get their starters and relievers doing their simultaneous best work of the season, the offense has struggled. For the month of August, the Braves lead the NL with a 2.54 ERA, which, if they can hold it, would be more than three-fourths of a run lower than their previous season-best month (3.37 in July).

Meanwhile, Braves hitters have a .236 average and .378 slugging percentage in August, their lowest in both of those categories this season.

The Braves have only hit .201 with 12 runs and two homers in their past five games (1-4), after hitting .249 with 200 runs and 43 homers in the previous 40 (majors-best 29-11 record in that span).

The woes continues for Dan Uggla, whose .207 average is the NL’s worst among qualifiers. Even more alarming, considering the Braves traded for him to get right-handed power in the lineup, his .369 slugging percentage is the third-lowest in the league, ahead of only San Diego’s Cameron Maybin (.330) and and St. Louis’ Rafael Furcal (.354).

Uggla has hit .144 over the past 2-1/2 months. Think about that. He’s 31-for-216 during that 65-game stretch with a .299 OBP, .255 slugging, five homers, 25 RBIs, 40 walks and 80 strikeouts in past 65 games, and was out of the lineup in favor of Tyler Pastornicky for Wednesday’s series finale at D.C.

The other big bat that’s been quiet lately belongs to Brian McCann, who’s played with an injured shoulder and is 7-for-48 (.146) with no extra-base hits and one RBIs in August. For the month, backup catcher David Ross is 6-for-26 (.231) with two extra-base hits (one homer) and three RBIs.

Giants await: After the Braves’ overnight cross-country flight from D.C. – nice job scheduling that series-ending night game, Nats – they’ll face a San Francisco team that’s shook off the drug suspension of All-Star outfielder and website designer Melky Cabrera and gone 5-1 with a .282 batting average (and 3.57 ERA) in its past six games.

That included a three-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles that ended with Matt Cain winning last night (yes, the Braves will avoid him in this four-game series).

The Giants have won 13 of their past 19 games and hit .301 during that stretch.

All-Star catcher (and South Georgia native) Buster Posey missed Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers with a tight hamstring, but said he could have played and seems likely to play against the Braves. The Braves would not be heartbroken if the Giants decide to be cautious and hold him out a game or two in this series. Posey’s on fire, folks.

In his past 49 games, Posey has hit .376 with a .471 OBP, 1.124 OPS, 14 doubles, 11 homers and 43 RBIs.

• Prado resurgence: After cooling off for a month, Martin Prado’s bat has heated back up in a big way. Prado has hit .340 with 11 extra-base hits (two homers), 11 RBIs and 1.025 OPS in past 11 games, after batting .212 with six extra-base hits (no homers), eight RBIs and .552 OPS in his previous 27 games.

Resurgent Prado has hit .323 with 11 extra-base hits in 15 games vs. Washington this season.

Resurgent Prado has hit .323 with 11 extra-base hits in 15 games vs. Washington this season.

He’s been a thorn in the side of Nationals pitchers this season, batting .323 (20-for-62) with ten doubles, a triple and seven RBIs in 15 games against Washington. That’s more than twice as many extra-base hits as any other Brave has against the Nationals this season.

Prado has .377 OBP and .516 slugging percentage against them, highest slugging by any Brave with more than five games played against Nats this season.

• OK, gotta get this posted and try to get some breakfast before they stop serving here. I’ll close with a tune from the late, great Joe Strummer and his Mescaleros, which you can hear by clicking here. Hoping to get out to the 10th annual tribute they’re doing for Strummer on Saturday night at the Bottom of the Hill club here in S.F.

joe-stummer-mohawk-coca-cola

“BURNIN’ STREETS” by Joe Strummer

The sirens’ risin’
There’s a distant blues dance on a crowded street
The temperature’s a-risin’
Soon you’re gonna be runnin’ down

Those burnin’ streets, come on
The century that’s hardly on its feet
And the late news breaks early
Does the sun rise from the west or from the east?
An’ it takes every day to be survivin’ in the city

London is burnin’; don’t tell the Queen
Somebody tried to speak garage and they burnt down Bethnal Green
Piccadilly’s yearning, like a reggae beat
Soon you’re gonna be runnin’ down

Those burnin’ streets, come on
And you’re waitin’ for your flag to be unfurled
And the late news breaks early
So how should life be lived around the world?
(If London is burnin’)

An’ it takes every day to be survivin’ in the city
Ready to face that dawn with no pity, come on!
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin’)
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin’)

(Soon you’re gonna be run down)
(Soon you’re gonna be run down)
Those burnin’ streets, come on!
Does the universal cop have a beat?
And the late news breaks early
Did you ever buy that bar on Lucky Street?

An’ it takes every day to be survivin’ in the city
Ready to face that dawn with no pity, come on!
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin’)
Yeah, ah-come on (London is burnin’)

Too many guns in this damn town
At the supermarket, you gotta duck down
Baby flak jackets on the merry-go-round
(London is burnin’)
There’s too many guns in this damn town
(London is burnin’)
Baby flak jackets on the merry-go-round
(London is burnin’)
Too many guns in this damn town
(London is burnin’)
Baby flak jackets on the merry-go-round
(London is burnin’)

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

2,019 comments Add your comment

Old devil

August 23rd, 2012
1:51 pm

First two days in a row !

Trey

August 23rd, 2012
1:53 pm

Wonderful article, DOB.

GT_Braves Fan

August 23rd, 2012
1:54 pm

Finally!! good article

Brian from SC

August 23rd, 2012
1:54 pm

Medlen’s been proving people wrong since before he ever got to Atlanta. Hope he continues to prove you right this time.

David

August 23rd, 2012
1:54 pm

If you didn’t see Medlen diving to avoid the bat shard, here’s the HD video http://www.angrydingo.com/files/MedlenAvoidsBat.php

Trey

August 23rd, 2012
1:54 pm

Maddux was something special, and to be compared to him is an honor. I loved watching Maddux pitch, when I was growing up, now I love to watch Medlen pitch. It’s an insult to Medlen, to the fans, and to everyone that has anything to do with the Braves to put someone with his sort of talent in the bull pen IMO.

BravesFanInBama

August 23rd, 2012
1:54 pm

Excellent read. Medlin is our #1, no question about it.

Venice Jim

August 23rd, 2012
1:56 pm

Thanks, DOB!

Summer of George

August 23rd, 2012
1:57 pm

DOB, I believe showtime just showed a documentary on Joe Strummer recently.

Efrim

August 23rd, 2012
2:00 pm

Awesome blog, DOB. Go Medlen and Go Braves!

Even more alarming, considering the Braves traded for him to get right-handed power in the lineup, his .369 slugging percentage is the third-lowest in the league, ahead of only San Diego’s Cameron Maybin (.330) and and St. Louis’ Rafael Furcal (.354).

Also consider that Cameron Maybin plays in the enormous Petco Park. While Turner Field isn’t a small park, it just makes it seem worse that Uggla is only 3rd worst ahead of those two.

Tootsi

August 23rd, 2012
2:00 pm

DOD,

Glad to have you back. Carroll is great, and braves fans are lucky to have you both. However, you are one of the best beat writers in sports and thanks for the content you provide.

How do Wren and company not get more criticism for their handling of Medlen? Would he have been on a Strasburg like innings count had he not started the year in the pen? Wren completely misjudged by choosing Pastornicky over Simmons, and he completely misfired by using Delgado over Medlen in the rotation to start the year. I understand that he has made some shrewd moves such as Maholm, but I don’t think he is the best talent evaluator out there.

Tootsi

August 23rd, 2012
2:01 pm

Juan

August 23rd, 2012
2:03 pm

In a one Game WC game i will give the ball to Medlen…no question about it, he’s a second Bulldog

Roman Gal

August 23rd, 2012
2:03 pm

Yay, for the Return of Marteen Pardo!

ChattTownBrian

August 23rd, 2012
2:04 pm

Medlen belongs in the pen … in triple A.

Summer of George

August 23rd, 2012
2:04 pm

DOB, We’ve all been told about Medlen’s impressive streak….. but can anyone answer what team and pitcher holds the MLB record for most consecutive team wins by which starting pitcher?
Medlen’s and Braves are on 16 and counting…how far to go for record?

JoshTown

August 23rd, 2012
2:05 pm

Couldn’t agree more. Go Braves.

the truth...

August 23rd, 2012
2:06 pm

All said well……………..

I heard Chipper’s Medlen/Mad Dog comment last night and wondered if you’d include it….of course it didn’t slip by you and I had the same reaction…..

….when a guy like Chipper says such things about a player….listen….

…..if you remember in Spring training he said similar things about Simba Simmons…..that was all I had to hear then, so my choice out of the Spring was Simmons instead of Pastornicky without have ever seen either.

I have to add that to me the key to us getting to the wild card or division champ etc, lies in how rigidly Fredi and Frank decide to be in “running him back out there again”………….meaning Uggla.

Your stats on Uggla don’t lie………..he is having an abysmal year and there isn’t much you can say about it. He performs better than expected with the glove most nights, and hustles like few on the bench…………….

…..but he is a giant Popeye out almost 80% or the time……….

There are several options……….Prado and Pastornicky can both play 2nd, and when Simmons returns I’d have no qualms about sliding Janish over there….if youcan play SS you can play 2nd….

Insist on playing Uggla ever day………….equals dangerous ground for playing in October……

Jair Jurrjens is the New Kenshin Kawakami

August 23rd, 2012
2:06 pm

And Dan Uggla belongs out of the line-up.

RC

August 23rd, 2012
2:08 pm

Even more alarming, considering the Braves traded for him to get right-handed power in the lineup, his .369 slugging percentage is the third-lowest in the league, ahead of only San Diego’s Cameron Maybin (.330) and and St. Louis’ Rafael Furcal (.354).

I’m still a half-season away from full-on freak-out over that contract, but it certainly is unsettling. And was annoying at the time that they rushed to “lock him up” instead of seeing how well he adjusted to playing in Atlanta.

Fish Bisch

August 23rd, 2012
2:08 pm

Thanks for the new blog.
Go Brabes.

Dan Uggly needs to sit

August 23rd, 2012
2:09 pm

Medlen has got to stay in the rotation!

They have got to bench Uggla and play Pastornicky. There wouldnt be a drop off in Defense (quite possibly an increase) and at least Tyler can hit the ball. Pitchers know exactly what to throw to the hard swinging Uggla – Slider down and away. Gets him every time! Fredi G has got to send Uggla a message.

ncscoots

August 23rd, 2012
2:10 pm

In a one Game WC game i will give the ball to Medlen

And two weeks ago, the same was said about Sheets. Pitcher du jour.

Is it not a good idea to see how the pitching stacks up in September before anointing any of these guys as go-to for a one-gamer?

Bat Masterson

August 23rd, 2012
2:10 pm

Nice work, David. Thanks

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
2:11 pm

Thank you DOB! Go get ‘em Braves…. hoping Tyler P. is in the lineup again tonight, either at SS or 2B.

Our schedule is .001% easier than the Nats…. that should be good for about 6-7 extra wins :)

RC

August 23rd, 2012
2:12 pm

There are several options……….Prado and Pastornicky can both play 2nd, and when Simmons returns I’d have no qualms about sliding Janish over there….if youcan play SS you can play 2nd….

I agree that the Braves have options, but I’m not sure that any of them are neccesarily better than Uggla.

If Prado plays 2b, Reed Johnson has to play LF. So the question becomes Johnson vs. Uggla, and I’m probably taking Uggla in that situation.

With Janish or Pastornicky, neither is exactly killing it with the bat either. Might as well stick with Uggla and the higher upside (which he certainly has over the 3 other players).

ncscoots

August 23rd, 2012
2:13 pm

And was annoying at the time that they rushed to “lock him up” instead of seeing how well he adjusted to playing in Atlanta.

They spent four years trying to secure righty pop, and having done so, they should have let him play out his walk year? Huh-uh. Can’t see that as smart, regardless of how Uggla fares over the course of the contract.

Tumbledown

August 23rd, 2012
2:14 pm

DOB – Thanks for providing the great supporting research and information as to why Medlen should start. Some bloggers need to take notice of the use of research and facts before posting their conclusory and unnecessarily insulting comments

RC

August 23rd, 2012
2:14 pm

I WOULD possibly be in favor of having Janish play 2b on days that Hudson is pitching (once Simmons returns). While on a day-to-day basis I don’t think the difference in Janish and Uggla’s defense justifies playing Janish, with an extreme groundball pitcher like Hudson I’d like the move.

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
2:16 pm

Medlen belongs in the pen … in triple A.

AA… they seem to need the help in their ‘pen.

Bat Masterson

August 23rd, 2012
2:16 pm

And two weeks ago, the same was said about Sheets. Pitcher du jour. _ ncscoots

Killjoy

ncscoots

August 23rd, 2012
2:18 pm

Killjoy

Guilty as charged, LOL. Might get that elevated to “hater”, with a little more work.

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
2:18 pm

Some bloggers need to take notice of the use of research and facts before posting

Sure, and fact is that Medlen needed to start the year in the ‘pen…. if he started the year in the rotation, he’d be getting shut down around now. Not to mention regression to the mean, he can’t stay this good forever.

Widespread panic

August 23rd, 2012
2:19 pm

Welcome back, DOB. Nice observations about Medlen. Here’s hoping that something as plain as the justification for him starting won’t go unnoticed by the Braves’ skipper, who somehow hasn’t noticed the anchor a couple of his “sluggers” have become on our starting lineup.

Jair Jurrjens is the New Kenshin Kawakami

August 23rd, 2012
2:19 pm

Simmons at SS, Janish at 2B, Uggla riding the pines.

Mike/ in ATL

August 23rd, 2012
2:20 pm

Giants sweep the dodgers? MEDLIN done his job!!!!! These GIANTS are no push over!! Another first place team in a row!! Braves have there work cutout for them. They have a great chance of winning the series( IF THEY KEEP STRUGGLA OUT AND BIG MAC OUT).Cant wait till simmons is available. Then janish can go to 2nd and simmons to short. Keep STRUGLA UGLA OUT OF THE GAME!!!!!!! HE IS REASON WHY WE LOST LAST YEAR. SIMMONS AND JANISH!!! GREAT COMBO!!

Scoots

August 23rd, 2012
2:21 pm

Loving this guy. I hope the Bravos go back to the 5-man rotation soon so that Medlen gets to start more often. Would love to see a Hudson-Medlen-Maholm rotation in the playoffs.

Bat Masterson

August 23rd, 2012
2:21 pm

Jair Jurrjens is the New Kenshin Kawakami

August 23rd, 2012
2:22 pm

Dan Struckla Outta

King of Carrot Flowers

August 23rd, 2012
2:27 pm

Nolier Than Thou,

Are you ready to admit how wrong you were about Medlen’s ability to be a top of the Braves rotation starter? I mean, you couldn’t've possibly been more wrong. Astoundingly wrong.

But let’s talk about small samples sizes, and try to find a way to keep the Medlen-as-starter hate going. And tell me again why a good middle reliever is “more valuable” than a good starter? This is going to be good…

Don Sutton

August 23rd, 2012
2:27 pm

Forget the question of whether or not he should be in the rotation…doesn’t Medlen have to be considered in the first 3 guys to start when the play-offs come around? You probably give the #1 spot to Huddy and maybe Maholm after that but based on what he’s done so far, Medlen has to be right there. I’m not so sure that if it came down to ONE game (which it would in the wild card round), that I wouldn’t want Medlen taking the mound.

the truth...

August 23rd, 2012
2:31 pm

@ RC…..

You’d take Uggla version 2012 over Reed Johnson?

Reed is a lifetime .284 hitter and is hitting .303 this year….he makes contact and has played well since we got him along with Maholm.

What we need is another Reed Johnson………….LEFT HANDED VERSION…..in ADDITION to the RH Version we have……….. to replace Hinske…..then we’d be cooking with gas…..

Like it or not, Uggla has been a major stumbling block all season….he is just not producing enought for a team seriously contending….

Were Mac playing like the Mac of 4 years ago, Uggla’s woes would not be so noticeable….but the way we are constitued without Mac and Uggla’s power numbers we need some more contact hitters like Reed Johnson…..

It would be impossible to convince me that continuing to “run him Uggla) back out there” day after day is going to improve our chances of playing in October…..

DOB’s numbers on Uggla don’t lie…. and his “what disturbs me” is spot on…………

Uggla need to sit indefinitely….

Arkansas Transplant

August 23rd, 2012
2:34 pm

Would love to see a Hudson-Medlen-Maholm rotation in the playoffs.

I think I would at least wait to see how Hanson and Minor does in September before leaving them off that list.

Tumbledown

August 23rd, 2012
2:34 pm

Sure, and fact is that Medlen needed to start the year in the ‘pen…. if he started the year in the rotation, he’d be getting shut down around now. Not to mention regression to the mean, he can’t stay this good forever

Your “fact” is properly labeled an opinion. We cannot positively know what would have happened if Medlen started the year in the rotation. I am glad he is starting now and hope his success continues.

TF

August 23rd, 2012
2:34 pm

Delgado is going to be a very good pitcher in the Majors…. and hopefully the Braves will keep him!

TennesseePaul

August 23rd, 2012
2:35 pm

Thanks for the blog DOB.

GO BRAVES!!

Pitcher du jour.

Perhaps for yourself scoots, but for the Meds fans wanting him in the rotation since Spring Training, this is simply an honor long delayed.

Brooks Conrad

August 23rd, 2012
2:36 pm

Dear Frank and Fredi…..

Hey remember me? I gurantee you that i can play second and hit as good as Uggla……….and for a lot cheaper too….like $12 million less………..

I know I made a big time error(s)…..but Dan did too the other night in DC…

So give me a call and I’ll come running…..

thanks,

Brooksy

Roman Gal

August 23rd, 2012
2:38 pm

Uggla riding the pines

We all saw how well that worked out for Diaz…

King of Carrot Flowers

August 23rd, 2012
2:38 pm

Yes, scoots is another one who’s not enjoying the taste of crow.

Jimmy

August 23rd, 2012
2:42 pm

AT- right about that. Don’t leave Minor off that list.

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
2:42 pm

Trolls are out in force today…

Keep STRUGLA UGLA OUT OF THE GAME!!!!!!! HE IS REASON WHY WE LOST LAST YEAR

Yeah, a .288/.376/.561/.936 stat line from August 1 to season’s end with 16 HR and 35 RBI sure hurt us last year… :roll:

Would love to see a Hudson-Medlen-Maholm rotation in the playoffs.

What about Minor? He’s been pretty good as of late.

Ward

August 23rd, 2012
2:43 pm

Hello everyone! DOB – Would Sheets consider the Bullpen next year for long middle relief, if Braves haves no room for him?

Bat Masterson

August 23rd, 2012
2:44 pm

Were Mac playing like the Mac of 4 years ago, Uggla’s woes would not be so noticeable _ the truth…

Four years ago?

Heap’s slash line last year through 91 games, until the oblique injury. .306 .375 .514 .889

Supes

August 23rd, 2012
2:44 pm

McCann faded last year due to injuries/fatigue God knows what else…same ole stuff this year…I admire and respect Brian and what he’s done for our Braves…but how many are confident in giving him that rich long term deal his agent is going to ask for when the time comes in 2013…especially having Betancourt coming up in the minors.

As far as Uggla…man that signing is looking bad now…I was very much looking forward to penciling in 100RBI and 30 HR per year at 2B….but he’s been a disappointment when you consider the price. I think the Braves are pretty much stuck with Dan unless they are willing to eat a large portion of that contract but if this trend continues next year that will be 3 years in a row of declining production…one has to really start to wonder what’s going on there.

With Chipper’s retirement…that leaves 3 big question marks in the middle of the Braves order for 2013…and yes it’s not too soon to start thinking about that…

Regarding Medlen I was in the minority but even after spring training I believed he should be in the SR and not the pen…however if one good thing came out of him pitching out of the pen was the limitation of his usage (as far as IP) – hence the ability to have him now for the entire season and avoid a Nats situation with Steven S.

peaceVatownA

August 23rd, 2012
2:44 pm

It’s MEDLEN please learn how to spell it

Ward

August 23rd, 2012
2:45 pm

Sheets might be an answer to the Bullpen?

Shaun

August 23rd, 2012
2:45 pm

You’d take Uggla version 2012 over Reed Johnson?

Reed Johnson is basically a leftfielder with a 113 OPS+ this year. Uggla is a secondbaseman with a 92 OPS+ this year.

I don’t think it’s at all clear that Johnson has been much more valuable than Uggla has on the season.

I think the perception of the Uggla situation is similar to that of the Heyward situation last year. Because Uggla has been disappointing and because he hasn’t hit for a high batting average, some are undervaluing him to the degree that they think he should be benched more often than he probably should.

But if the Braves bench Uggla, they probably aren’t getting a whole lot better with the alternatives. Johnson in left doesn’t really add any more than Uggla, if we assume the 2012 versions of these players are fairly representative of who they are now and until the end of the season. Pastornicky probably doesn’t add any more value than Uggla.

Even if we completely ignore contract (i.e., the idea that the Braves are paying Uggla so they have to play him), as we should at this point, it still seems pretty clear that they have to play Uggla virtually every day. There just aren’t alternatives that are clearly and likely to improve the team.

O'Brien

August 23rd, 2012
2:46 pm

Given Uggla’s track record, and annual salary, he will be given every opportunity to play through his slump. And I can understand that.

However, similar to what he did last night, I think FGon should continue to give Uggla a day off here and there until he gets it going again.

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
2:46 pm

Delgado is going to be a very good pitcher in the Majors…. and hopefully the Braves will keep him!

Hopefully we do, but we do have a lot of other talented pitchers as well…. some of them will have to go…. I for 1 am saying that I would rather keep J.R. Graham than Delgado, if it came to that…. I have a soft place in my heart for little guys that throw gas.

Ward

August 23rd, 2012
2:47 pm

Bench Mac, until he gets healthy, and learns how to hit out of the shift. How many times have we scene him hit into second, or first base? Pathetic……

Bat Masterson

August 23rd, 2012
2:47 pm

He’ll always be Meldeen to me.

Ward

August 23rd, 2012
2:49 pm

I bet Mac hits into the shift three times……That’s if he’s in the line up?

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
2:49 pm

Hello everyone! DOB – Would Sheets consider the Bullpen next year for long middle relief, if Braves haves no room for him?

I would doubt it…. I think he wants to start…. even so, there isn’t much room for him in the ‘pen either!

especially having Betancourt coming up in the minors.

Bethancourt isn’t much of a hitter…. then again, Brian hasn’t been either since August last year, but at least BMac has a track record.

Tip O' the Cap

August 23rd, 2012
2:50 pm

Diaz who? I don’t remember anybody by that name….

ncscoots

August 23rd, 2012
2:52 pm

Yes, scoots is another one who’s not enjoying the taste of crow.

Oh, I don’t know. I think you might want to consider what I’ve actually said about Medlen as a starter before characterizing that content as “astoundingly wrong”.

Ward

August 23rd, 2012
2:52 pm

Medlen, has great stuff, and has Ace material, and will leave it as that.

Shaun

August 23rd, 2012
2:53 pm

Given Uggla’s track record, and annual salary, he will be given every opportunity to play through his slump. And I can understand that.

I don’t think annual salary should matter much, especially at this point in the season. Track record is much more important. But the biggest factor is that there aren’t better alternatives.

rc35

August 23rd, 2012
2:53 pm

Since I live too far from the ATL to drive home after a night game and show up for work the next morning, I never get to see batting practice. Is Uggla hitting anything at all there? I know game pitching and BP pitching are quite different, but I’m wondering if he’s even making decent contact against the coaches. With the possible exception of a pitcher, there’s no one I’d less like to see at bat right now than Uggla. I keep hoping for a turnaround, but I think there’s more likelihood of Obama dropping Biden for Ryan as VP than there is for Dan to turn it around this year.

bostonbravo

August 23rd, 2012
2:55 pm

Have to agree with many…I had same “Maddux” vibe last nite. NEVER missed a game Greg pitched. Glavine was good but boring, Smoltzy good..but the 2 pitchers I really loved were Maddux (& sorry) Rocker. I go waaaay back…enjoyed Spahn very much. Whatever ‘it’ is…Medlen has it.
Wonderful game to watch…Kris pitchin’, Uggla sittin’.

abeeewright

August 23rd, 2012
2:55 pm

The look of the Braves last night seemed to be what we may see throughout september (at least until Simmons gets back).

With how woeful Uggla and McCann have been, it might be essential in the “must win” games, to play Pastornicky and Ross.

That’s a sad statement considering how good those players can be when they’re going right.

Buddy Landel

August 23rd, 2012
2:56 pm

….and people STILL can’t spell his name. There is no I in M-E-D-L-E-N

abeeewright

August 23rd, 2012
2:56 pm

Cards – Nats

Pray for extra innings every night.

bostonbravo

August 23rd, 2012
2:57 pm

BTW…what IS it with this slump/streaky BS???? That’s ridiculous!! Like Lowe was in a ’slump’ last 2 yrs with Braves so he got dumped??? No! No slump! Just lousy ball playing!

jeffrey d

August 23rd, 2012
2:58 pm

Man, got to go to a flippin meeting. No jeffery d, I’m not in my overalls. At work Jimmy

Why would I think you were in overalls?

CrαZy

August 23rd, 2012
2:58 pm

Love me some west coast games…

bill arp

August 23rd, 2012
2:58 pm

i said at the beginning of the season that he’d be my number 1 and that he was the best pitcher on the team. Ole Fill lit me up on that one..lol

abeeewright

August 23rd, 2012
2:59 pm

I go with Meldeeeen as well.

Ken Stallings

August 23rd, 2012
2:59 pm

Medlen has control that is as close to what Greg Maddux had on a consistent basis as I have seen since Maddux. I don’t believe I will see any pitcher reach the level of Maddux in control, but Medlen is as close as I have seen since. What I admire when Medlen pitches is how consistently he hits the target the catcher puts down. Contrast Medlen with Maholm. On the solo homer that Maholm surrendered, the target was for a high fastball. Maholm’s pitch was about a foot lower and got nailed.

Ross last night called for a high fastball and Medlen nailed the target and the pitch was effective. It was not swung at because Ross wanted it to be a ball high. But, it served the purpose of changing the hitter’s eye point, and the next pitch was low and outside and resulted in an out. Changing the eye level of the hitter made the next pitch more effective. I am certain that was the intent with the Maholm pitch, but not hitting the spot was the difference between an out and a homer.

Medlen has three very effective pitches he throw with pinpoint control and since two of various speeds of offspeed pitches (curveball and changeup) and his arm motion is identical for all three pitches, when combined with the control, is why he is so consistently effective. He hits spots and changes speeds. As Ross said last night, he can command all four corners of the plate with pitches of various speeds.

That’s exactly what Maddux could do.

Jimmy

August 23rd, 2012
3:01 pm

Minor=Glavine.

older1

August 23rd, 2012
3:02 pm

lets hope Dan Uggla can become our Mr. October. IF WE CAN WIN WHEN MOST OF OUR BATS R COLD, MAYBE THEY WILL HEAT UP AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME.

Ward

August 23rd, 2012
3:02 pm

Well , I’ll talk after the game, and hope to remain calm…… Houston is a head 4-3 over Cards, and Peace my friends, and “Go!!!!!Braves!!!!!”

Charles

August 23rd, 2012
3:02 pm

Dan Uggla = Derek Lowe II — we will be paying some other team to play him in a year or so.

birdo

August 23rd, 2012
3:02 pm

Good pitching vs good hitting. Good pitching wins. Thanks to FG for getting the six automatic outs from our line up last night. That is 2 full innings.

Jimmy

August 23rd, 2012
3:05 pm

jeffery d – you don’t recall, a couple of months ago, a discussion about me wearing overalls and playing a banjo? I thought that was you. If not, disregard.

Just was pointing out that I was at work.

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
3:06 pm

With how woeful Uggla and McCann have been, it might be essential in the “must win” games, to play Pastornicky and Ross.

Wonder if Fredi might ride with these guys this year, kinda like what he did with Constanza last year…

RC

August 23rd, 2012
3:06 pm

I keep hoping for a turnaround, but I think there’s more likelihood of Obama dropping Biden for Ryan as VP than there is for Dan to turn it around this year.

While I certainly do not expect a turnaround, I think people would have said the same thing about Uggla on July 5th of last year, when he entered the game with a .173 batting average. He got 2 hits that game, and got at least one hit a game for each game played from then until August 14th.

Again, I don’t expect a turnaround to happen. But I think that the Braves best chance at postseason success is to keep playing Uggla and HOPE that the turnaround happens, because if it does the upside is miles beyond anything that Janish or Pastornicky are capable of providing with the bat.

Brave New World

August 23rd, 2012
3:07 pm

When Fredi told Uggla he was going to the bench, he asked “can you spot me?” :)

Sweet Old Buck

August 23rd, 2012
3:07 pm

We may be stuck with Uggla, but how about this for moves in the off season. Trade McCann and Francisco to Padres for Quentin and Headley. Pay Bourne. Put Prado on second. Where does that leave Uggla? Someone will take him if the Braves eat salary, particularly if we throw in a prospect – say, Gilmartin.

Hillbilly

August 23rd, 2012
3:08 pm

Yay, for the Return of Marteen Pardo!

Yay, for the return of Roman Gal!

Efrim

August 23rd, 2012
3:08 pm

Kris Medlen = Greg Maddux
Mike Minor = Tom Glavine

Craig Kimbrel = Mark Wohlers……..what?

CrαZy

August 23rd, 2012
3:09 pm

My wife kept calling him Med i len last night and it drove me nuts… after correcting her numerous times she finally said fine and then started calling him “cutie pie”… :roll:

TennesseePaul

August 23rd, 2012
3:09 pm

you might want to consider what I’ve actually said about Medlen as a starter before characterizing that content as “astoundingly wrong”.

You said something along the lines of…. short people are the devil.

alanfalcon

August 23rd, 2012
3:10 pm

Meds, another example that Freddie can’t see the tree’s for the forest, I have to wonder what may come of the 6 man rotation, the top three at this time based on their latest outing are Medlin, Maholm and Minor, that means Friddie has to make a decision as to who goes to the bullpen Hudson, Hanson or Sheets and I really don’t see either of them filling that role-its gonna get interesting and I can’t wait to see the announcement.

David O'Brien

August 23rd, 2012
3:10 pm

Hello everyone! DOB – Would Sheets consider the Bullpen next year for long middle relief, if Braves haves no room for him? — Ward

That would depend, I’m sure, on whether he gets offers from other teams to start. And barring injury, I think he would get at least an offer or two to start.

Eric in Tampa

August 23rd, 2012
3:10 pm

DOB – most would agree Medlen should stay in rotation, but, who do you send to the pen next week when they plan to go back to 5-man rotation? Which pitcher has the mental makeup to be as sucessful as Medlen has switching?

Efrim

August 23rd, 2012
3:11 pm

The Mets have a farm system. This Collin McHugh kid doesn’t look half bad. And they have quite a bit more at the lower levels that are making their way up. They certainly need to use this new found prospect depth to upgrade that outfield and bullpen, which I’d expect Alderson to do. Not going to get any easier in the National League East, I think….

Chop Chop

August 23rd, 2012
3:11 pm

I suppose that Kris Medlen needs to put together five or six years of great pitching before I’ll worship him. Maybe fans shouldn’t have longevity standards? I don’t know, but it sure beats the ADD world we live in today.

TheOnlyBravesFan

August 23rd, 2012
3:11 pm

West coast games sukk…. coulda had my lineup already, now I gotta wait until about 6pm EDT :(

CrαZy

August 23rd, 2012
3:12 pm

Efrim…..
Craig Kimbrel = Mark Wohlers……..what?

Naaa… Craig wouldn’t throw a hanger to a HR hitter in crunch time in the WS. He’d throw the heata!!

ncscoots

August 23rd, 2012
3:12 pm

That’s exactly what Maddux could do.

Man, if hate is just the obverse of love, poor Medlen is gonna get absolutely crucified here when he has a bad game or two, LOL. Mercy.

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