Braves plan on streaking Medlen to start Wild Card game

PHILADELPHIA – The Braves have won the last 21 games that Kris Medlen has started, so it should come as no surprise they plan to start him in the Oct. 5 Wild Card game that’ll determine which National League wild-card team advances to a division series.

The Braves have won 21 consecutive games started by Medlen, their projected starter for an Oct. 5 Wild Card game.

The Braves have won 21 consecutive games started by Medlen, their projected starter for an Oct. 5 Wild Card game.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Saturday he had adjusted his starting rotation for next week in order to line up Medlen to pitch in the Wild Card game and veteran Tim Hudson in the Oct. 7 division series opener. Gonzalez flip-flopped Medlen and Paul Maholm’s next rotation turns, with Medlen moving from Wednesday to Tuesday, in order to get Medlen on schedule to pitch Oct. 5 on regular rest.

“It lines up two possibilities for that play-in game, depending on how we get there and what we need to do,” Gonzalez said. “If something happens or [Medlen] gets sick, Huddy is also available to pitch that day. We could bump [Hudson] back a little bit, cut him back a little bit and he could still be able to pitch that day.”

The Braves’ spot in the wild-card game seemed nearly certain entering the weekend. With only 11 games to play before Saturday, Atlanta was too far back (5-1/2 games) of Washington to realistically expect to tie or overtake the Nationals in the NL East, while the Braves had a six-game lead over St. Louis, the second-place team in the NL wild-card standings.

After the Braves won Saturday and Milwaukee lost, the Braves’ magic number to clinch a wild-card berth is down to three entering Sunday’s games, and to clinch the No. 1 wild-card spot (and home field) it’s down to five.

If they need to make an adjustment and have Medlen or Hudson ready to start a potential Oct. 4 tiebreaker game against the Nationals, the Braves could do that next week. But due to the great improbability of that development, Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell laid out their pitching plans with the wild-card scenario as the focus.

“I don’t think it’s any secret, Medlen’s been our best pitcher for a month or two now,” Hudson said. “He’s a guy we’re going to lean on. We’ve been leaning on him for a while now. I feel like we have guys that can step in and pitch. But obviously games like that, you want your best guys ready to go. He’s been not only one of our best pitchers, but one of the best pitchers in the game the last month and a half.”

Medlen is 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA in 10 starts since moving from the bullpen to the Braves rotation on July 31, including eight scoreless innings in a win at Miami on Wednesday. After winning the National League Pitcher of the Month award in August, he is 3-0 with an 0.90 ERA in four September starts, with 34 strikeouts and only four walks in 28 innings.

Gonzalez arranged the rotation with the wild-card game and division series in mind, but by coincidence the move also sets up Medlen to pitch Sept. 30 against New York in the Braves’ last regular-season home game and the last regular-season home game of Chipper Jones’ career.

Provided the Braves retain their position as the NL wild-card team with the best record, they would host the Oct. 5 Wild Card game against the second-place team in the wild-card standings. St. Louis was second before Saturday, but Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia were all within three games of the Cardinals, with the Brewers and Phillies both on torrid stretches over the past few weeks.

Lining up Medlen to start in the do-or-die game was no surprise to the Braves, who’ve watched him become one of baseball’s big stories by utterly dominating opposing lineups since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on July 31.

“I like it,” Braves catcher David Ross said. “You’ve got Medlen, who’s pitching as well as anybody in baseball. And you’ve got Huddy, who I think anybody would take in a one-game situation, too. So it lines up really good, and I think if we do win that wild-card game it lines up Med to pitch the first game on the road [in the division series], which works out.

“I think it’s really important to have a guy who’s pitching well pitch the first game on the road where it’ll be a crazy atmosphere. And then Huddy for the last game [of the division series. And Huddy’s got some of the biggest … guts, I guess you’d say, for the paper, of anybody I’ve ever played with.”

Medlen is 13-0 in 24 starts since the beginning of the 2010 season, and 14-0 with a 2.68 ERA in 26 starts dating to May 31, 2009, his third major league game.

The Braves have won the last 21 games started by Medlen going back to 2009. The last time a team won that many starts in a row by one pitcher was nearly six decades ago, when the Yankees won 22 starts during 1950 and 1953 by Whitey Ford, who missed the two seasons between while serving in the military.

BRAVES SUNDAY LINEUP

  1. Johnson cf
  2. Prado 3b
  3. Heyward rf
  4. Freeman 1b
  5. Uggla 2b
  6. Baker lf
  7. Ross c
  8. Simmons ss
  9. Hudson p

• Chipper Jones’ Farewell Tour: The Phillies honored the Braves’ retiring third baseman in an on-field ceremony before Friday’s game, and Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley presented a painting of Jones swinging a bat in a game at Citizens Bank Park. The painting was by Philadelphia artist Dick Perez, who has many paintings in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

For those who’ve asked, I put together a list of all the gifts and tributes that Chipper’s received this season in his last stop at cities throughout the major leagues.

092112-chipper-jones-400

Chipper Jones Farewell Tour

HOUSTON ASTROS: Stetson cowboy hat presented by retired former Astros star Craig Biggio.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: Video tribute on scoreboard between innings.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS: Video tribute on scoreboard between innings.

COLORADO ROCKIES: Miniature video camera (suitable for mounting on bow for filming hunting excursions), presented by Rockies star Todd Helton.

CHICAGO CUBS: Braves flag that flew over Wrigley Field when team was in town to play Cubs.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: Framed, autographed Stan Musial jersey and a picture of Chipper playing in St. Louis autographed by the Cardinals, presented by former Braves and current Cardinals Rafael Furcal and Adam Wainwright.

TAMPA BAY RAYS: Video tribute on scoreboard between innings.

CINCINNATI REDS: Third base from his last series at Cincinnati. All the bases for the series had specially designed panels on sides in recognition of Jones’ career.

NEW YORK YANKEES: Framed third base from Jones’ last series at Yankee Stadium, presented by Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones.

BOSTON RED SOX: No. 10 from hand-operated Green Monster scoreboard at Fenway Park, presented by Red Sox owner John Henry.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS: Third base from final series, signed by Washington team; bat used by Jones to hit first-ever homer at Nationals Park, and framed photo of Jones with former Braves teammates and close friends Adam LaRoche and Mark DeRosa of the Nationals, presented by LaRoche and DeRosa.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: Pregame video tribute on scoreboard.

SAN DIEGO PADRES: Custom-designed surfboard presented by retired former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman.

NEW YORK METS: Original framed 3-D pop-art piece of Shea Stadium that highlighted Jones’ many career highlights at the old Mets ballpark.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS: One-year supply of Klemen’s sausages and bratwursts and a Weber grill.

MIAMI MARLINS: Fly-fishing rod and reel and other fly-fishing gear, presented by Marlins (and ex-Mets) shortstop Jose Reyes.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: Painting of Jones taking a swing in Philadelphia, presented by Phillies Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES: TBA (next week)

• OK, let’s close this with a Tom Waits classic, and you can see the live version of it here from the movie Big Time.

64-tom-waits

“TRAIN SONG” by Tom Waits

Well I broke down in E. St. Louis
On the Kansas City line
and I drunk up all my money
that I borrowed every time
and I fell down at the derby
and now the night’s black as a crow
It was a train that took me away from here
but a train can’t bring me home
What made my dreams so hollow
was standing at the depot
with a steeple full of swallows
that could never ring the bell
and I come ten thousand miles away
with not one thing to show
well it was a train that took me away from here
but a train can’t bring me home
I remember when I left
without bothering to pack
you know I up and left with
just the clothes I had on my back
now I’m sorry for what I’ve done
and I’m out here on my own
well it was a train that took me away from
here but a train can’t bring me home

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB blog

1,979 comments Add your comment

Tomahawk Mafia

September 22nd, 2012
4:16 pm

Alright. Freeman makes Halladay pay on an 0-2 mistake. Minor needs to make it hold up today.

ncbravesfan90

September 22nd, 2012
4:17 pm

Dang that strike 2 pitch to Uggla was a half foot off the plate…

TBbravesfan

September 22nd, 2012
4:18 pm

Enter your comments here

Yes Way Josè

September 22nd, 2012
4:19 pm

Simmons is soft. Sick of it. Bourn needs to be benched and Constanza should start as CF for rest of the year and next.

DS1

September 22nd, 2012
4:19 pm

Nice job DOB, and Freddie!

Venice Jim

September 22nd, 2012
4:19 pm

Reposted from old blog:

Me
Today
A few minutes ago

FF!!!!!

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:20 pm

That should have been an out there

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:20 pm

I swear some Phillies fans were moaning about that being a foul ball.

Rick C

September 22nd, 2012
4:20 pm

DOB, I thought the Cards give Chipper a signed Stan Musial jersey and a framed photo of Chipper playing in STL?

DS1

September 22nd, 2012
4:21 pm

To show the absurdity of cherry picking stats, Halladay’s ERA for today is 27.00.

SteveInFXBG

September 22nd, 2012
4:21 pm

Nice start Minor.

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:21 pm

Good start for Minor

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:22 pm

HBP on 0-2. Not bueno.

Tomahawk Mafia

September 22nd, 2012
4:22 pm

No good to bean Pierre on a 1-2 pitch before Utley and Howard.

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:23 pm

1-2…my mistake.

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:23 pm

Yeah, that pitch got away from him. Unfortunately, it didn’t get away from Pierre.

SteveInFXBG

September 22nd, 2012
4:23 pm

Almost hit Utley and it was a called strike.

Capt.Mudd

September 22nd, 2012
4:23 pm

Ok Uggla no more SO’s…back to the walks!
Thank you DOB for the new blog
Extra ball in ChiTown….10-4 Nats final

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:24 pm

DP would be nice about now.

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:24 pm

Jeez, Utley, not enough tar on the bat?

Be careful here, Mikey.

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:26 pm

C’mon, MIkey….heater on the outer edge right here!

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:27 pm

HBP didn’t hurt, thank God.

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Nice…MM strikes out the side, and good play by BMac!

SteveInFXBG

September 22nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Whew. Nice bounce.

Mixxo

September 22nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Friendly ricochet!

Capt.Mudd

September 22nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Oak 5…Yanks 5 in 8th………collars up, temps going dwn @Wrigley

jeffrey d

September 22nd, 2012
4:27 pm

Nice repost, VJ :)

No USC game for you?

David O'Brien

September 22nd, 2012
4:28 pm

DOB, I thought the Cards give Chipper a signed Stan Musial jersey and a framed photo of Chipper playing in STL? — Rick C

You are correct. Thanks for pointing that out. Fixed now.

Venice Jim

September 22nd, 2012
4:32 pm

jeffrey – I now have PSAT classes on Saturday afternoon, so not likely to make many games (but I hope to be able to get a good score on the PSAT)…

Chipper's Southern Bell

September 22nd, 2012
4:33 pm

Just noticed the gifts are National League except big 3 al teams

Capt.Mudd

September 22nd, 2012
4:34 pm

Special Note: Constanza used to drive a Nissan Stanza

jeffrey d

September 22nd, 2012
4:34 pm

Aw shoot…when I first read that I was gonna say “Good luck on your PSAT” then I read the rest and you already made the joke.

Mixxo

September 22nd, 2012
4:35 pm

Nice job Mike.

David O'Brien

September 22nd, 2012
4:35 pm

Braves magic number at 4 after Brewers loss.

Capt.Mudd

September 22nd, 2012
4:36 pm

@VJ….Hey, good luck with your “Passing Attack.”

Tomahawk Mafia

September 22nd, 2012
4:36 pm

Bourn has been on base twice today!

Capt.Mudd

September 22nd, 2012
4:39 pm

OK…time for a Dooby

MattyRoss

September 22nd, 2012
4:39 pm

So I would think division series would go Hudson, Minor, Medlen, Maholm, Hudson?

ncbravesfan90

September 22nd, 2012
4:40 pm

Why are these FOX announcers so surprised that Halladay is struggling? Have they not seen him pitch any this year? The guy had a 10-8 record with a 4+ERA coming into today. He’s not the Halladay from years past anymore….

Efrim

September 22nd, 2012
4:40 pm

Hope Heyward blows this wide open….

Efrim

September 22nd, 2012
4:41 pm

Yikes. He’s lost.

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:41 pm

Lets go Heyward!

Mixxo

September 22nd, 2012
4:41 pm

No bogartin’ Capt! :D

Venice Jim

September 22nd, 2012
4:42 pm

Mixxo

September 22nd, 2012
4:42 pm

Jason’s gonna rake!

ohhhhYEAH

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

I can’t believe it, Fredi actually plans to let our best starter pitchin the most important game of the season

ChattTownBrian

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Mixxo

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

HEYWARD!!!! Almost as good as a slam!

Venice Jim

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Bye bye, Doc…

M.V.P.Heyward

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

J-Hey!

Halladay is done.

keyLargo

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Boy was that close!! McCann barely made it.

Tomahawk Mafia

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Yet another early exit for Roy Halladay against the Braves. Minor better make this lead hold.

Efrim

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Well, that’s nice……something to hang his hat on. Maybe he can get going….

ncbravesfan90

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Haha these announcers on TV are something else

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:43 pm

Halladay gets the hook in the 2nd inning! You don’t see THAT every day!

ohhhhYEAH

September 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

I love Halladay as a player, have a lot of respect for him, but I do love it when we can touch him up for 6 in less than two innings

David O'Brien

September 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

Braves have knocked out Doc. Halladay is leaving the game in the SECOND INNING, and there are some boos at Citizens Bank Park.

jeffrey d

September 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

That’s right, Philly, boo Halladay

Capt.Mudd

September 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

And yet another–Carry On My Heyward Son!!!

ChattTownBrian

September 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

Yeah, Karros, Heyward sure can’t touch anything inside. :roll:

Mixxo

September 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

That’s one way to get BMac around the sacks.

My goodness he’s slow.

SNEAKY PETE

September 22nd, 2012
4:44 pm

you almost have to think that there is something physically wrong with Halladay.

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:45 pm

ohhhhhYeah,
I’m sure it’s only because Fredi checked the sage advice on this blog, and acted on it.

JC Brave

September 22nd, 2012
4:45 pm

On beautiful days like this one, against such a pitcher, I wonder why the Braves can’t hit against a guy like Kendrick.

ohhhhYEAH

September 22nd, 2012
4:46 pm

usnavy

That cant be true, or else he wouldnt still be running Hanson out there every fifth day. He sure is terrible

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

Cards are winning…sure doesn’t help the Phils.

JC Brave

September 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

These guys are high on cafeine!

Mixxo

September 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

The old man came close to yikkety!

VaBravesFan

September 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

Big hit for Heyward. Good too see since he’s been pretty terrible in his young career with the bases loaded.

SNEAKY PETE

September 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

Venice Jim

September 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

ohhhhYEAH

September 22nd, 2012
4:47 pm

Oh…..Chipper…..

chipontheroad

September 22nd, 2012
4:48 pm

Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavos!!

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:48 pm

You can just tell these announcers want the Phils to win.

David O'Brien

September 22nd, 2012
4:48 pm

Halladay has a 7.44 ERA and no wins in 6 starts vs. Braves over past 2 seasons (27 earned runs in 32-2/3 innings).

VaBravesFan

September 22nd, 2012
4:48 pm

Be real nice to see Freeman get to 100 RBIs. Last Brave to drive in 100 runs was Chipper in 2007.

Cracker

September 22nd, 2012
4:49 pm

On Fox, Eric Karros spent Heyward’s entire at bat dogging his stance. After the bases clearing double, Karros was perfectly silent. Good work Karros. And good decision to start Medlen in the play-in game.

jeffrey d

September 22nd, 2012
4:49 pm

I don’t hear a Phillies bias

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:49 pm

Man, this guy’s retiring at the end of the year? Go, Chipper!!

Capt.Mudd

September 22nd, 2012
4:49 pm

Is Halladay now a head case like our guys? Gee that’s a stupid assumption to jump to from a fan’s perspective!

ohhhhYEAH

September 22nd, 2012
4:50 pm

bravesgirl

Its a good thing they’re grown men and not getting what they want isn’t going to kill them :)

VaBravesFan

September 22nd, 2012
4:50 pm

Chipper’s swing is just so pretty.

ncbravesfan90

September 22nd, 2012
4:51 pm

“I don’t hear a Phillies bias”

Your TV on mute?

VaBravesFan

September 22nd, 2012
4:51 pm

Halladay is following Derek Lowe’s path.

toast

September 22nd, 2012
4:52 pm

heyward should have been rung up, definitely looked like a strike 3 but we obviously will take it

David O'Brien

September 22nd, 2012
4:53 pm

Halladay has an 11.21 ERA in 4 starts vs. Braves this season (22 earned runs, 30 hits in 17-2/3 inn. including six homers)

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:53 pm

Well, I’m sure if we weren’t braves fans, we’d have a greater appreciation for what the Phils have done the 2nd half. They HAVE played really well, and they’re the underdog as strange as that sounds. Of course, it was the Phils that finished off the Braves last year; I certainly have no problem putting the last nail in the coffin of the Phils playoff hopes this year.

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:53 pm

Ball 2 was a strike according to gameday.

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
4:54 pm

Cards win 5-4.

Ghost of Chipper Jones

September 22nd, 2012
4:54 pm

Ghost of Chipper Jones
September 22nd, 2012
11:13 am

“………We have HALLIDAY’s number and intend to dial it this afternoon……..”

As I said……..

SNEAKY PETE

September 22nd, 2012
4:55 pm

gee. like bad calls don’t happen all the time

John Leonard

September 22nd, 2012
4:56 pm

Chipper just hit that one about 420,and it did’nt go out of that band box.I see Minor reaching 93 on that fastball again,but it must only be my T.V. that say’s that,right Ef?

bravesgrl4life

September 22nd, 2012
4:57 pm

Good job, Minor. Shut down inning is good.

VaBravesFan

September 22nd, 2012
4:57 pm

That close call on Heyward looked low to me, the catcher framed it really well, but it went over well below his knees.

Ghost of Chipper Jones

September 22nd, 2012
4:59 pm

A win today puts us six up in the loss column against the CARDS with 10 to play. With MILWAUKEE falling back a game, we’re eight up on both they and the DODGERS with 10 to play.

In any instance, I LIKE OUR CHANCES for a play-in game.

The Lawyer

September 22nd, 2012
4:59 pm

That pitch the Hey was down and off the plate, wasn’t a strike. The Cardinals are benefitting from playing a bunch sissies. Ready for Oct. 5.

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
5:00 pm

So if the Braves win, their magic # for the playoffs is 3, correct?

usnavyvolfaninva

September 22nd, 2012
5:00 pm

C’mon, DAN! NOt another freaking strikeout!

keyLargo

September 22nd, 2012
5:02 pm

I heard Karros (a long term Dodger with a career .268 average) say that when a hitter stands so far off the plate, it means he can’t handle the inside pitches.

Either that or the hitter is 6′6″ and has about an 84″ wingspan.

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