PITTSBURGH – After winning the National League Pitcher of the Month award for August in his first month in the Braves’ starting rotation, Kris Medlen underscored his run of remarkable pitching by winning the award again Tuesday.
Medlen was named NL Pitcher of the Month for September, becoming the first to win the award in consecutive months since Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez in April-May 2010, and the first Brave since Greg Maddux in June-July 2001.
He is 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts this season since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on July 31, and Medlen was 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in six September starts, collecting 46 strikeouts with only five walks in 43 innings. He had a career-high 12 strikeouts in a five-hit complete game against the Rockies on Sept. 3, then beat that mark with 13 strikeouts in seven innings against Washington on Sept. 14.
“Obviously he’s well deserving,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said of the repeat NL pitcher award. “He’s been just that good. It’s hard to imagine anyone pitching better than he has been.”
Medlen will start for the Braves in Friday’s NL Wild Card game against St. Louis or Los Angeles, with the winner advancing to a best-of-five Division Series that would start Sunday. The Braves have won 23 consecutive starts by Medlen going back to the 2009 season, a major league record for the Live Ball Era.
“How about that?” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Medlen’s back-to-back awards. “That’s unbelievable. He’s been terrific for two months and he deserves it. I know we had two other guys [in consideration] in [Mike] Minor and [Craig] Kimbrel. We’re here because of our pitching, really. We’re in this position because of our pitching, and hopefully that continues for another month or so.”
Three of the six pitchers who received votes for the NL pitching award in September were Braves, including Mike Minor, who went 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA in five September starts, and Kimbrel who went 3-0 and converted all 10 save opportunities in September while racking up 25 strikeouts with only two walks in 12-2/3 scoreless innings.