Medlen becomes an unlikely key to Braves’ postseason

Kris Medlen is 9-0 with a 0.97 in 12 starts this season and owns the major league record for the Braves winning 23 straight when he starts. (AP photo)

Kris Medlen is 9-0 with a 0.97 in 12 starts this season and he owns major league record for Braves winning 23 straight in his starts.

The Braves are going back to the playoffs, and as anybody could have predicted back in spring training their two most important players when the postseason opens will be Chipper Jones and . . . Kris Medlen.

OK. Maybe not so predictable.

It’s sort of like if the guys at NASA had a running bet and one predicted that the first two astronauts to walk on the moon would be Neil Armstrong and the kid who brought him coffee every day.

“This has been the ride of my life,” Medlen said Sunday. “I mean, you go through some adversity and you come back with the kind of success that I’ve had, it’s awesome. It’s crazy.”

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez put it another way: “It’s Nintendo-like stuff.”

Medlen did it again Sunday. He started and he won. He started and the Braves won. Like, “Good morning: Oh look, there’s the sun.”

The Braves’ middle reliever-turned-emergency-starter-turned-No. 6-starter-turned go-to-guy held the New York Mets to one earned run and four hits in six innings. The Braves went to win their final regular season home game 6-2, officially closing Chipper Jones Lovefest Weekend.

The win allowed Medlen to put some distance between himself and those two slackers, Carl Hubbell and Whitey Ford.  Previously, he shared a major league record with the two Hall of Famers, the Braves having won 22 straight when Medlen started. Now the streak is at 23 and the record is owned solely by Medlen.

Again, if you missed that threesome: Carl Hubbell … Whitey Ford … Kris Medlen.

Asked if he had heard of Hubbell and Ford, Medlen responded, “I don’t know if I heard of the first dude.”

Medlen will start the expected wild card game Friday. It figured to take something extraordinary for Gonzalez to select Medlen over a veteran, Tim Hudson, but Medlen accomplished that.

Actually, he blew past extraordinary and went straight to illogical.

Since moving to the rotation on July 31, Medlen is 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in 12 starts. He is 14-0 during the start streak, which dates back to May 29, 2010.

He shared the spotlight on the season’s final homestand with Jones. That’s fine by him. He prefers being the funny teammate in the background.

“I don’t like the attention,” he said. “I mean, they show me on the Jumbotron [before the game] and … I don’t know how to tip my cap [to the fans].” (Visualize Medlen giving a goofy look.)

“Under the radar is how I prefer it,” he continued. “But this is the coolest experience of my life.”

Medlen’s initial goal this season was to stay healthy, not an uncommon objective for a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery. He ended up turning into the staff ace.

There has been some amusing revisionist history, some suggesting the Braves held Medlen out of the rotation for so long because they wanted to limit his innings. The reality is that if things had gone according to plan, Medlen would still be in the bullpen. He made it here only because of Brandon Beachy’s elbow surgery, Jair Jurrjens’ decline, Randall Delgado’s slow development and Ben Sheets’ return to Earth. He was sent to Gwinnett in May to “stretch out” his arm but when he returned he still pitched out of the bullpen 17 times.

But it’s clear teammates love playing behind Medlen. He works fast. He throws strikes. He never seems stressed.

“They’re not standing on their feet, walking around going, ‘OK, when is ball three going to come?’” Gonzalez said.

Medlen was happy to be the second-biggest story this week behind Jones: “I prefer it this way: I do something good and he does something better.”

He remembers showing up to his first spring training and seeing Jones in the clubhouse.

“I was No. 72,” Medlen said, laughing. “Chipper was standing there watching some hunting show. I was dating a girl from Mississippi who took me duck hunting, so I thought, ‘That’s my icebreaker.’  So I went up to Chipper and said, ‘Hey, I went duck hunting in the delta.’ He looked up and down at me and then looked back at the TV. I was like, ‘OK,  maybe I’ll see you again some time. I’ll just go back over here now.” (Visualize another funny look.)

Fortunately, Medlen need not worry about introducing himself any more.

By Jeff Schultz

It’s a blog blowout! Buy 2, get 8 free

Georgia has uncomfortable mix of highlights, slapstick

After celebration, Chipper Jones admits he was an emotional wreck

Chipper Jones: Braves lose a legend, fans lose a hero, I lose reason to open laptop

Weekend Predictions: No ‘bagels’ but Dogs and Falcons win

Video blog: Are Falcons NFL’s best team (after 3 weeks)? We debate

Falcons are looking special, and it starts with Matt Ryan

Falcons’ defenders preferring Mike Nolan to Brian VanGorder

Predictions: Dogs win cage match; Falcons upset Chargers

Goodell is in ‘fantasy’ world if he doesn’t believe product being damaged

This Braves’ September isn’t anything like the last one

54 comments Add your comment

Jon

September 30th, 2012
7:13 pm

World Series, here we come!!!!

Stinger2

September 30th, 2012
7:50 pm

Jeff: Good observations about Medlin. His impact on the regular season was an unexpected and plesant surprise to many fans. Another thought about this team which has won 93 games in spite of some injuries Beachy,McCann, Simmons, and Chipper) is how Fredi and the coaches have held the team together without a major
collapse. I realize there are many who don`t like Fredi and will say and have already said the Braves lost 5-6 games because of him and would have won the NL East withh another Manager. My belief is that he did a good job, has improved immensly as a Manager this year and deserves some praise.

1eyedJack

September 30th, 2012
8:12 pm

He can now look cross-eyed at the next naive rookie.

Patrick

September 30th, 2012
8:31 pm

This has been a good year for Fredi–and the heck with the critics. Kris is obviously the best choice for the shoot out on Friday. Anybody got a hunch on the start time or will TBS keep us guessing until Thursday ?

ATLBraves86

September 30th, 2012
8:31 pm

Medlen has been nothing short of unbelievably amazing! Love that he set an ALL-TIME record like that! He will ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED! Just like our man Larry Wayne Chipper Jones!! Can’t wait for Friday! Go Braves!!

Chop Chop

September 30th, 2012
9:04 pm

Medlen will have that record for a while. The question is whether he can be really good season after season. If not, he’ll always have this.

Felix

September 30th, 2012
9:05 pm

I ain’t buying the “spin” by FW that they held him back to limit his pitch count early in the season. He and Fredi didn’t recognize his talent. But some of us Braves fans did. We knew he was good; although, I admit he is a lot better than this fan thought.

BravesFan79

September 30th, 2012
9:10 pm

Braves could sweep the Pirates and Phillies sweep the Nationals.. that would be nice, and give us the division title!

Don

September 30th, 2012
9:10 pm

Hello Jeff – Great Story as Always – you have one slight “error”. Medlen’s run was UNearned today because of a Freeman throwing error allowing the guy that scored his base.

Knox Culpepper

September 30th, 2012
9:41 pm

Funny story about the duck hunting thing. When you wear number 72 you just don’t get no respect.

Pj

September 30th, 2012
9:42 pm

So in 2013 the starting pitching is: 1. Hudson 2. Medlen 3. Beachy 4. Minor 5. Hanson – with Tehran just waiting… Love it

BiggDawgK

September 30th, 2012
9:44 pm

What a great weekend for all sports fans in Georgia and this one in particular. I enjoy a great Georgia game with friends last night. I Go to Turner Field today for record breaking history and Chipper’s final regular seaon home game. I watch Chipper’s last at bat and a little later silde out early just in time to catch the final 2 minutes of the Falcon’s game on the ride home and we all know how awesome that was.

I won’t even mention the names of the teams that lost today that made the Falcons win even sweeter. We all know who they are.

Jack

September 30th, 2012
9:44 pm

I can’t see the Nats losing 3 in a row, but I love our chances Friday with Medlin facing the Cards.

BiggDawgK

September 30th, 2012
9:45 pm

Anyone else seen Thomas DeCoud’s meow interview on youtube? It’s pretty dang hilarious.

Chiba, Exchange Student

September 30th, 2012
9:55 pm

I am Chiba. I watch Chipper Jone today and I also watch Kris Medlen and also Matt Ryan and I think of the three Chipper Jone is too old to be called Chipper when he is 40 year old and bones creaking. Kris Medlen may be superstar one day and Matt Ryan also but Chipper Jone appear very popular already with nomber 10 sign all over ball park. I like baseball and football and I enjoy study at Georgia State.

Chiba, Exchange Student

September 30th, 2012
10:05 pm

In my country there is not baseball but sport is everywhere and players afraid to play like Dan Uggla play here for three month because lose job. I go to every Brave game since I get here so I can see Chipper Jone in his last season play hot corner and wonder why he not making commercials on television like other player and like Peyton Manning Buick commercial. If Chipper Jone endorse everyone buy two.

A-Ville Ranger

September 30th, 2012
10:12 pm

Medlen’s account of his frist meeting with Chipper paints Jones as a bit of a jerk. The world is full of peole who don’t have REAL human kindness. The real person is revealed when that person thinks their actions won’t get around to affect their image. It would seem Chipper sized Medlen up, decided he was nobody of importance and didn’t even take the time to acknowledge him. I hate people like that, I would like to think that isn’t the real Chipper.

BiggDawgK

September 30th, 2012
10:33 pm

A-Ville. I’m not sure if you are joking or maybe you have never heard an interview with Medlen or heard any of his teammates talk about his sense of humor. He has a “unique” sense of humor that many don’t get but I find funny.

Don’t take that story about Chipper too seriously.

A-Ville Ranger

September 30th, 2012
10:42 pm

BD, Got it. I know Medlen likes to do his goofy dance at odd times, so it’s not a stretch to think he has other personality traits that might be a tad different.

Ken Stallings

September 30th, 2012
10:46 pm

Jeff,

The “revisionist history” was confirmed a month ago by Frank Wren and Fredi Gonzalez. So, there is nothing at all revisionist about it. The only part of it is that the front office kept it off the public radar scope until they kept getting asked about it given the Nats were going to sit Stephen Strasberg.

Dylan Vainer

September 30th, 2012
11:00 pm

Im gonna need to hear a nice “THANK YOU”

Dylan Vainer

September 30th, 2012
11:01 pm

Chipper jones question of fair or foul. 1999 world series game 1 home run off el duque. Thank you

ben grinzaid

September 30th, 2012
11:03 pm

Dawg Whisperer

September 30th, 2012
11:06 pm

Chiba, are you related to Sonny Clusters? I guess this means Sonny is sun-tanning somewhere in South America as an exchange student.

david yashar

September 30th, 2012
11:09 pm

Give me a “well”. Thank you.

david yashar

September 30th, 2012
11:10 pm

thank you chipper jones omg i love you so much. thank you

dwayne pn

September 30th, 2012
11:22 pm

this time or so 15 yrs ago by dad and i went down by the roof near the bowl of the field and we saw chipper standing there with a bat on his shoulder like m f ‘ n hoss signing auto-graphs just like some big goofy loookin jabroni should just call him jabroni jones in stead of CHIPPAH but anyways chipper signed my ball and kinda grunted at me i think it turned my dad on looked like he had chubs going on near his right pocket i digress i told chipper i could whoop him and he laughed but i was serious and started screamingn and the little crck head guy with security on his shirt grabbed me and mydad punched him in the stomach and then one of those cops on the field tried to jump over the wall but side swiped chipper jones in the right hip and fce crunched into the blue braves fence it gave chipper a hernia he missed the rest of the season in 1994 so they took me and dad down into the little cell below turner county stadium there were sme drunks there too we werent drunk though ever been in that braves jail cell before?

dwayne pn

September 30th, 2012
11:24 pm

its a mini jail cell

dwayne pn

September 30th, 2012
11:25 pm

really really mini

John Leonard

October 1st, 2012
12:02 am

The Braves front office always tells the truth,just like all of our elected officals.

bart

October 1st, 2012
1:03 am

What is the status of Ben Sheets? Seems to have disappeared.

Keith

October 1st, 2012
7:15 am

Jeff,

Not that anyone is expecting a collapse from Wash like we had last year, but what if they got swept and we swept.

Would there be a one-game playoff on Thursday for the division title?

Go BRAVES :)

jake snake

October 1st, 2012
7:32 am

I like the idea of a one game playoff with Washington. Wouldn’t that give the Braves two chances to get into the playoffs? Win the Thursday game and win the division. Lose the Thursday game and play another on Friday for the Wildcard. Right?

ROTFLMFAO

October 1st, 2012
8:20 am

Check your facts, Jeff. Twenty-three consecutive wins by a pitcher is NOT the all-time record for consecutive wins by a baseball pitcher! The record is held by Carl Hubbell, a screwball pitcher who had 24 consecutive wins. He posted 16 wins in the 1936 season and 8 more in the 1937 season1.

1 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Hubbell

I wish it was 1984 again

October 1st, 2012
8:42 am

Playoff week is here yet only 31 comments :(

whoops

October 1st, 2012
8:48 am

ROTFLMFAO – The record they’re referring to and the one you’re bringing up are different records. The record Medlin just set is that his team has won the last 23 games that he has started – not necessarily that Medlin got the win, but that the team won. There’s been at least one instance (his last start) where Medlin left the game with the Braves behind, and the team rallied late to win. Medlin got no decision but the team won. In Carl Hubbell’s case, he was credited with 24 consecutive wins without posting a loss, but on a couple of occassions, he came out of the game with his team leading, only to have them lose the game late. So, Hubbell wouldn’t have gotten a loss, but his team lost.

ROTFLMFAO at ROTFLMFAO

October 1st, 2012
8:51 am

Check your facts, ROTFLMFAO. No one said that Medlen holds the record for consecutive wins by a pitcher. He said Medlen holds the record for most consecutive wins by his team when he starts a game. Hubbell’s team must have lost a game he started during that streak, even though Hubbell didn’t get the loss. Can’t stand morons that come on here thinking they’re proving someone wrong when they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Heisenberg

October 1st, 2012
9:29 am

How about if Medlen just goes 11-0 over his next 11 starts, then has both records and there is no need to split hairs. For now we will be satisfied with 1-0 over his next 1 start.

At this point I would rather see Nats clinch and Cards/Dodgers get in a duel to the finish so neither of them can set their rotation for the WC game. Best Braves can do is tie for first with Nats and setup a 1 game playoff. Win the playoff and they have still used their ace. Lose the playoff and they have still used their ace and have to come back for the WC with #2 meaning you start the LCDS with #3 if you survive WC game. Tough road. Better off just taking the 1 game WC with rotation set against another WC team who used most of their bullets just to get in.

Chiba, Exchamge Student

October 1st, 2012
9:32 am

If Chipper Jone play every game this week then have to play in playoff will he be able to do so and field his position without hernia or blow out oblique? In my country, a player like Chipper Jone only come around once in a long while and then you hope the player be smart and able to talk on television and not look like antelope in uniform. With deer tattoo on arm look like red-shoulder in my country considered backward and inbredded. Big hero here though and I go to every home game just to see and hope I can get wrist band with logo and get it signed with Chipper mark. Late for class at Georgia State must go.

coach

October 1st, 2012
9:40 am

beachy won’t be ready until after the all-star break. surgery in may? 11 months makes it april, 160 innings, he’ll make a a coupla starts before the all-star break, then be ready to be full speed in july.

who will be the 5th guy? hopefully not hanson. i’d rather the young guys, split the 5th spot. hanson needs to go.

DawgDad

October 1st, 2012
9:45 am

All this talk about the Braves “making the playoffs” rings a bit cheap and hollow to me. Last year the Braves had to win game 162 to earn a slot in the playoffs, this year they have to win game 163, the play-in game, to earn a slot.

I’m happy for the team. I was at The Ted over the weekend and I’ll be there Friday night. Just noting that if the Braves don’t win Friday they’ll wind up in the same place they were last year, the NL team with the best record NOT in the playoffs.

I’d like their chances a lot better if they catch the Nats, even tie them. I have a bad feeling about the Cardinals; they have a lot of key players who’ve played big games and WON. But, hey, the Braves have Greg Maddux, er, Kris Medlen, on the mound, and a healthy Bourn and Simmons.

Rick C

October 1st, 2012
10:23 am

DawgDad, I agree with you about the whole one game playoff for the WC, but technically that is considered a playoff game.

GT Alum

October 1st, 2012
10:43 am

“The win allowed Medlen to put some distance between himself and those two slackers, Carl Hubbell and Whitey Ford.”

This line made me laugh out loud. Good one!

Paddy

October 1st, 2012
11:05 am

Medlen learned a valuable lesson; when your # is 72 ‘ don’t talk to anyone unless they speak first.

Playoffs???

October 1st, 2012
11:23 am

You’re talking about playoffs, man.

Chiba, Exchamge Student

October 1st, 2012
11:51 am

In my country duck hunters are very noble and “bringing home the duck” is a sign of masculinity and successful social stature. Conversely, elk hunting is for the red-shoulders of my country inbredded and dull and lacking personal hygiene but happy to shoot living elk and cause them to loose their lives for sport. That’s why I like Chipper Jone so much because in my country he would be for shi . . . er, for shipping elk head across the land for trophy on wall. Georgia State football is loosing like this and yet I love Bill Curry and would take him in one game play-in over Frdii.

Dawgdad (The Original)

October 1st, 2012
12:13 pm

Jeff, thanks for setting the record straight on how Medlen finally got in the rotation. The Braves brass is reluctant to admit that they are poor judges of talent. Medlen had won how many games in a row prior to spring training and he and Minor were the best pitchers in Spring Training, but they had made up their mind he was a reliever. Never underestimate how bad they are at appraising talent sometimes. Remember how long Martin Prado rode the bench, long after the fans saw something, but the brass thought he was a utility player, same as Infante. How many times did the fans ask why didn’t they try Martin at SS, only to be told, he is not a SS.

I wish it was 1984 again

October 1st, 2012
1:28 pm

xxx

October 1st, 2012
1:55 pm

Chiba, Exchamge Student

Your schitck is simply boring. Did your mother have any children that lived?

afan

October 1st, 2012
1:58 pm

Cards are running there mouth..said they could’t wait to beat Braves again. Insider.