Braves’ Medlen glad to face Cardinals in Wild Card

Braves players don’t like the new do-or-die Wild Card playoff game that effectively reduces a 162-game season into one nine-inning contest to determine which team advances to a postseason series.

But if they were destined to play in the first-ever Wild Card game, the Braves were glad the opponent would be St. Louis.

“I’m excited to get a chance to face these guys,” said Braves pitcher Kris Medlen, who makes his first postseason start Friday night against St. Louis, after 9-0 with an 0.97 ERA in 12 starts since moving from the bullpen on July 31. “ It’s fitting that it’s them, especially with how they caught us last year and they did their thing last year.”

A year ago, back when only one wild-card team from each league advanced to the postseason, the Cardinals trailed Atlanta by 10-1/2 games in the wild-card standings after the games on Aug. 25. Five weeks later, they overtook the Braves on the final night of the season, completing a 23-9 run after Aug. 25 while the Braves went 10-20.

“I’m glad we’re playing them,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “Last year we just let it slip away. It wasn’t necessarily they took it from us. We felt like we let it slip away, and we kind of want to redeem ourselves.”

The Cardinals went on to win the World Series after squeaking into the postseason as the NL wild card.

“Defending champs,” said Medlen, who has previously faced the Cardinals in five relief appearances but no starts. “It’s almost like it’s supposed to happen, for us to play against them. They’ve got [Kyle] Lohse going and he’s a tough guy to get some runs off of. And that lineup is pretty good, too. I’m just going to approach it the same as every other start.

“I’ve had 11, 12 starts this year, and they really don’t matter anymore. It’s a Game 7 thing. Just go out and don’t talk, you just go do.”

That’s how the Braves have approached the Wild Card game, as if it were Game 7 of a best-of-seven series. Nine innings, winner advances, loser goes home.

“As simple as that may seem, it’s Game 7,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “You can imagine we’ve played six, and they’ve won three and we’ve run three. It’s Game 7. I’ve never experienced Game 7 as a manager, so I can’t tell you how that feels. But it’s Game 7, really.”

A standing-room-only crowd of about 50,000 is expected, and the first 45,000 through the gates will receive foam tomahawks. The atmosphere figures to be electric, much like it was when more than 150,000 turned out for retiring third baseman Chipper Jones’ final three-game homestand last weekend.

“It was a nice preview,” Gonzalez said. “I know it’s kind of a weird starting time, at 5 o’clock on a Friday. But I hope the people come out. I’m so proud of this team to win 94 games. And I think the fans should feel the same way and come out and support us. I think if we played in the American League we might have won a couple of divisions with 94 wins.

“It just so happens that this year, Washington has got four or five more wins that we do. But yeah, I hope they come out. It’s a good feeling when you hear that chop going, and it energizes the guys. It’s fun to play behind that stuff.”

Braves right fielder Jason Heyward was asked about approaching it as a Game 7.

“Do I have a choice?” he said, laughing, then turned serious. “We set out every night to win a ballgame and that shouldn’t change tomorrow night.”

Heyward returns to the postseason for the second time in his three major league seasons.

“Oh yeah, it’s going to be fun,” he said. “Looking forward to the opportunity. You can never take something like this for granted, because everyone doesn’t get a chance every year. We’re just fortunate to be one of the teams this year that does.

“Got to take the same mindset that we’ve had in the other games, come out here and have some fun, relax. No extra added pressure. We have good pressure on us – the fact that we want to win. That’s the kind of pressure you want to have.”

Roster decisions

The Braves weren’t expected to announce their 25-man Wild Card game roster until Friday, when it was due at 10 a.m. Gonzalez said he was leaning toward having nine pitchers (three starters, six relievers) and 16 position players on the roster, but hadn’t ruled out 10 pitchers.

Medlen will be joined by Tim Hudson and probably Mike Minor among starting pitchers, with Hudson and Minor on the Wild Card roster only in case of emergency – Hudson to start in case something happened to Medlen, and Minor in case the game goes deep into extra innings.

If the Braves win, they would likely go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players for the division series that would start Sunday against Washington at Turner Field. Hudson is scheduled to start the division series opener, and Minor seems a likely Game 2 starter Monday at home before Medlen would start Game 3 Wednesday at Washington.

50 comments Add your comment

Jwood

October 4th, 2012
6:19 pm

Cardinals are going with a right-hander? If they were smart, they’d start an unkown left-hander from the minors. Guaranteed win against Atlanta.

mbjones

October 4th, 2012
6:34 pm

I cant freaking wait. I just have a feeling the Braves are gonna be ready. Long time Braves fan from Indiana and haven’t missed a game on radio all year. Pitching is gonna be key in a game seven scenario. Look for the Braves to play small ball And try to get a couple of runs early. Go Braves!!! This year is our turn.

Quack Quack

October 4th, 2012
6:44 pm

Stick the negative attitudes. The Braves won 94 games, this is not backing into a game. We are here by winning some tough games. This is just one more. Make ‘em pay Bravos. Smart at bats against Lohse, lets wear him out early.

GO BRAVES!!!

Miami Dave

October 4th, 2012
6:45 pm

Going to be a great game with Medlin and Kimbrell leading the way. Go Braves!!!

brave4life

October 4th, 2012
7:11 pm

@Jwood, HAHAHA!!! That’s been the braves problems since 91! Any pitcher that they haven’t faced, they make them look like Cy Young!

mpimentel

October 4th, 2012
7:25 pm

there´s no way that we lose that game..IT´S TIME TO REDEMPTION….just play as the braves played against the buc´s on 1992 7th. game…beat them…we can for sure…we came from a 1-3 deficit against them back in 1996…just be patient guys..and beat them all, we are a better team, just tink and act like it !!!!!

Braves Fan for 55 yrs

October 4th, 2012
7:30 pm

mbjones you are right on about the radio. chip caray ruins tv for me and a lot of other fans. I never listen but always watch, MUTE out CC. Sometime I have the tv muted and the radio on, what a shame for a franchise like Atlanta to have the worst play by play announcer in all of baseball.

bravofan

October 4th, 2012
8:16 pm

@55 find something to wine about old man. Who cares about your opinion of the announcers? You prob. Use cc cause your deaf. Do you need your dipper changed? Go back to sleep!

ChipperisGod

October 4th, 2012
9:12 pm

GAH!!!! Can’t wait anymore! Anticipation is killing me. Sounds like the guys have a great attitude towards the game and have a sense of urgency, but aren’t over thinking things.

Jason! Wear double shades, the sun will be OUT tomorrow. Hopefully it goes down quickly. Can ill afford to have Jason miss a fly ball in the sun like he’s been doing recently. Hopefully he’s ready to make the adjustment, battle the sun and make the catches. I’m sure he will be.

Stupid 5 o’clock game. Why that time? Hell, I’d take 6 over 5, at least we’d have a bit more time to get that sun down so that there aren’t any chances of a fly ball being lost in the sun.

Go get ‘em Meds! Go get ‘em Braves!

Mike N/ATL

October 4th, 2012
9:57 pm

CAN’T WAIT TILL 5:00 TOMORROW!!! GONNA BE ONE HELL OF A GAME!!! Been waiting all year for this, since last september. MEDLEN ON THE MOUND TO!!! Be a GREAT WAY to start the playoff run with the nats next. Just hope that the braves and MEDLEN gets plenty of rest tonight. Can’t imagine one game so energized that rest on one game. Glad we’re at home and not there, and our the best pitcher is on the mound!! Love our chance!! GO BRAVES!!!

Oh'man

October 5th, 2012
12:54 am

I am scared y’all ! Man, I hope the offense can deliver. I hate this one game playoff format.

extremus

October 5th, 2012
1:51 am

Baseball is probably the least predictable sport there is. Going in, one might expect a matchup between Medlen and Lohse to be a low-scoring, nail-biting affair, and indeed it could be. Then again the final score could be 15-13 or 11-0 if one or both pitchers has an “off” game. If it’s a tight contest it could be dicided by a clutch hit or an agonizing error (something Braves fans are all too familiar with). Honestly, how often does a game play out the way anyone anticipates?

I guess if I were a Cardinals fan, I’d be glad there was a second Wild Card slot, but the fact remains that MLB wanted more revenue; there is no practicality in a one-game playoff. The Braves beat the Cardinals 5 out of 6 times during the regular season and finished 5 or 6 games ahead of them, so the idea of all that extra effort being negated by the outcome of a single, unpredictable contest is and should be unacceptable to me and I’m sure many other fans. If the Braves end up on the short end of this one, we’ll all be cheated of what might have been a special last postseason run for Chipper Jones.

Hopefully that won’t happen and the Braves will move on to face the Nationals, but make no mistake; we’ve watched 162 baseball games played this season, and they cumulatively mean less than one game. And that’s scary given what a crapshoot the playoff system has already become.

reckingball

October 5th, 2012
2:24 am

I think that the Braves might win this game.
go braves

SpideyMatt

October 5th, 2012
6:40 am

I’m with you extremus. It all just seems wrong… All week long I’ve had to remind myself to “think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts.” I have to quit stressing myself out thinking about the possibility that we could lose this thing because of a bad hop, or a blown call, or a ball lost in the sun (I actually hadn’t thought about the sun one until I read ChipperIsGod’s comment up there. Thanks alot!!! Haha!).

Anyway, my “happy thoughts” haven’t been all that difficult to summon, and that’s because they have a big ‘ol number 54 plastered on them! Go get ‘em, Medlen!!!

GO BRAVES!!!

J J

October 5th, 2012
7:18 am

Braves have 2 chances. Slim and none

bravofan

October 5th, 2012
7:54 am

J J (more like J A) where did you come up with that one? I think there chances or better than average for many reasons. Go b an idiot somewhere else. GO BRAVOS!!! 5-2 never really close!

Horacio

October 5th, 2012
7:54 am

This kid Medlen acts as pro and talks like champion. Besides he has the longest winning streak ever! I couldn´t be more confident to have him on the mound today. It´s a tough game and I am going to enjoy it every pitch. Let´s go Bravos!!!

RBI

October 5th, 2012
8:20 am

You have to like your chances with Medlen, as long as some offense shows up. Go Braves.

Brock

October 5th, 2012
8:37 am

extremus
October 5th, 2012
1:51 am

I guess if I were a Cardinals fan, I’d be glad there was a second Wild Card slot, but the fact remains
that MLB wanted more revenue; there is no practicality in a one-game playoff. The Braves beat the Cardinals 5 out of 6 times during the regular season and finished 5 or 6 games ahead of them, so the idea of all that extra effort being negated by the outcome of a single, unpredictable contest is and should be unacceptable to me and I’m sure many other fans. If the Braves end up on the short end of this one, we’ll all be cheated of what might have been a special last postseason run for Chipper Jones.

100% agree. This one game “play-in” negates what the Braves did this season. It takes away from them beating the snot out of the Cards and winning 94 games. Now they play a team who won what….88 games and 6 games behind the WC leader? Absolutely ridiculous.Washington-98wins, San Fran-94 wins, Cincy- 97 wins, Braves-94 wins….there are your NL post season teams. The commish ’s initials are fitting …BS

J J

October 5th, 2012
8:42 am

no offense. Cardinals 10 Braves 1

Quicherbichin

October 5th, 2012
8:56 am

No offense, J J? I find your comments quite offensive. Braves 3 Cards 1

J J

October 5th, 2012
9:04 am

Where are you finding this offense. No bats. no HRS. Too many men left on base. Its fact. Cardinals10 Braves 1. The only run you score is HR by J-hey. Hooters hero won’t help that is for sure.

J J

October 5th, 2012
9:04 am

Where are you finding this offense. No bats. no HRS. Too many men left on base. Its fact. Cardinals10 Braves 1. The only run you score is HR by J-hey. Hooters hero won’t help that is for sure.

Mike N/ATL

October 5th, 2012
9:24 am

J J YOUR FULL OF IT!!! YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHATS GOING ON!!! 10-1? REDICULOUS!! The braves have everything in there corner. Make no dout about its gonna be a GREAT GAME, 10-1 get a life!! Not here in braves country. Its the braves year and st. louis doesn’t even belong in the playoffs. Foreal 88 wins? Can’t wait till j j and all the others that talk trash to choke on it!! GO GET’EM MEDLEN & GO BRAVO’S!!!!!!!!

Mike N/ATL

October 5th, 2012
9:24 am

J J YOUR FULL OF IT!!! YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHATS GOING ON!!! 10-1? REDICULOUS!! The braves have everything in there corner. Make no dout about its gonna be a GREAT GAME, 10-1 get a life!! Not here in braves country. Its the braves year and st. louis doesn’t even belong in the playoffs. Foreal 88 wins? Can’t wait till j j and all the others that talk trash to choke on it!! GO GET’EM MEDLEN & GO BRAVO’S!!!!!!!!

J J

October 5th, 2012
9:36 am

Who did you find to be in there corner. It is fact that Braves lead league in men left on base. 2 broken down catchers. A 3rd baseman who would rather be at Hooters. A SS who has no clue how to play in playoffs. A 2nd basemen who constantly K’s out. A CF wo would rather be a National. That leaves 3. Not enough to stop slaughter. Sorry Bye Braves.

PWilliams

October 5th, 2012
9:43 am

Excited about tonight’s game, I am sure glad Medlen will be on the mound. I have arranged my whole day around this game. If hubby wants dinner he will either cook it or pick it up himself.

PWilliams

October 5th, 2012
9:46 am

I sure hope the Braves make JJ eat his words…..The Braves will pull this one out…It will hot at the Ted this afternoon and the Braves will pluck some Cardinals. Cardinal dumplings anyone..

jim

October 5th, 2012
10:22 am

the name is MEDLEN MEDLEN MEDLEN only 6 letters and the guy has been pitcher of the month for the past two months. It is not like you have to spell Pastornicky or Saltalamachia. No more reason for any blogger to keep misspelling MEDLEN’s name.

a fan

October 5th, 2012
10:25 am

JJ can you possibly be this stupid?

a fan

October 5th, 2012
10:25 am

JJ can you possibly be this stupid?

a fan

October 5th, 2012
10:25 am

JJ can you possibly be this stupid?

#1 BRAVES FAN

October 5th, 2012
10:33 am

J J is stupid and will choke on cardinal feathers! CHOKE ON IT J J!!

Medlin

October 5th, 2012
10:34 am

Jim, quit medlin’ in other people’s affairs

jim

October 5th, 2012
10:38 am

I don’t understand why Fredi would bring 16 bench players and only 9 pitchers — especially 3 starters and only 6 relievers. A second starter is a must in case of rain delay, injury, or extra innings, but I would like to see more than 6 relievers in case of using 3 relievers in an nning for matchups or short extra innings. 6 relievers = Kimbrel, EOF, Venters, Avilan, Durbin, (Gearrin, Martinez, Moylan?) or long shots (Sheets, Delgado — both of whom I’d prefer to Martinez or Moylan). Aside from McCann and Johnson there is no compelling reason why any of the other candidates needs to be added — If we take Constanza, Overbay, and the Rev that leaves (Hinske, Baker, and Francisco) I would much rather have an extra pitcher than Hinske on the roster. Hudson would be a better pinch hitter than Hinske — right or left-handed pitcher.

bravesgrl4life

October 5th, 2012
10:39 am

i hope bourne goes to phils, which should put phils back in ws next year, i really believe that

jim

October 5th, 2012
10:39 am

correction — 8 regulars and 8 bench players

Medlin

October 5th, 2012
10:42 am

Hinske will be there as an emergency relief pitcher

WG

October 5th, 2012
11:10 am

For the month of Sept. the Braves are 1st in MLB in pitching (2.39) and 27th in batting (.230). The Cards are 9th in pitching (3.52) and 10th in batting (.261). Gonna be a very interesting game.

Heisenberg

October 5th, 2012
11:14 am

Madlan, Madlen, Madlin, Madlon Madlun, Madlyn, Mudlan, Mudlen, Mudlin, Mudlon, Mudlun, Mudlyn, Midlen, Midlon, Midlan, Midlyn, Midlin, Midlon, Midlun, Medlan, Medlyn, Medlin, Medlon, Medlun, Medlen.

Any way you spell it. Braves win tonight.

jim

October 5th, 2012
11:15 am

Hinske will be there for his veteran presence and post season experience — hopefuly he will not be on the roster for the next round.

Heisenberg

October 5th, 2012
11:24 am

Braves/Cards are now part of MLB history to play first ever win or go fishing post season game. Remember this game as it will someday be the answer to a trivia question.

[...] Braves’ Medlen glad to face Cardinals in Wild Card [...]

Frank Shab in PA

October 5th, 2012
1:20 pm

Can’t wait for the Braves big win today. See you all in DC for game 3 of the NLDS
Thank you McCann for not causing a problem.
A real professional. Best wishes Ross on your start.

Paul In Richmond

October 5th, 2012
2:02 pm

I like our chances in a one game series with St Louis starting a RH pitcher. I have less confidence in a 7 game series against a good offensive team.

Lets take em one at a time…

ahood

October 5th, 2012
2:25 pm

Who’s idea was it to have this one game “playoff”? @55…Thanks for the comments about tv announcers. Chip & Dip are gpoing tp ruin Glavin if the Braves don’t make some changes in the booth. Experts, what a laugh..One that never played the game the other was nearly every team during the his playing days. A class organization with these (2) idiots is a shame.

Braves stay focus on what you have to do on the field today. Let St Louis know that playing in Braves Country is not is not a day at the beach GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Joey

October 5th, 2012
2:37 pm

“Do or die.”

Not literally, but for Chipper career – close.

This Braves fan hopes they are loose for this game, and hopes Uggla and Chipper get it going, because I think the young-uns will be. Simmons, Heyward, and Freeman don’t know or care of the tradition of the last few Braves playoffs teams – which was to be tight and flat.

Go Braves!

J J

October 5th, 2012
7:18 pm

I am not choking on cardinal feathers but I am enjoying my $1000 that I just won.The Hooter hero and rookie really came thru for me. Thanks guys.

J J

October 5th, 2012
7:21 pm

@a fan NOW WHO’S STUPID

Art Fowler

October 5th, 2012
10:18 pm

Artties Insight: The game is over but I am still glad we faced the Cardinals. I think we won except for the runs scored in total we won in every respect. I think we will still be in the playoffs whether we win the protest or not by one way or the other. I know Frddie has pull and so does Booby Cox so don’t be disappointed and be happy if we are still in the playoffs tomorrow. Go Braves.

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