Man in the Stands

Archive for the tag “Kris Medlen”

Braves overcome Natitude to extend streak

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The Braves (69-45) and the Nationals (54-59) had a pitchers’ duel on Tuesday night in a 2-1 Atlanta victory that saw benches clear and both teams warned by umpire Joe West in the fifth inning.

National’s outfielder Bryce Harper was struck by a pitch in the backside from Braves starter Julio Teheran (9-5) in the fifth inning after hitting a solo home run in his previous at-bat two innings earlier.

Harper took a step toward the mound with words for Teheran before making his way to first base. Braves catcher Brian McCann quickly came from behind the plate to get between the heated Harper and his pitcher.

West, the home plate umpire, took quick action in getting McCann steered away from Harper. Both benches and bullpens cleared, including Braves right-fielder Jason Heyward who came out of the game after his first at-bat with a strained neck.

After order was restored and both benches warned, play resumed to see an otherwise disappointing game.

Evan Gattis, who entered the game for Heyward, had a two-out single in the top of the fifth that scored, both, B.J. Upton and Andrelton Simmons. These, along with Harper’s homer, proved to be the only runs in the game.

Teheran only allowed four hits to Washington to match his four strikeouts in six innings of work. Craig Kimbrel came in for the save opportunity and gave Braves fans a bit of poetic justice by striking out Harper on a 99 MPH fastball to end the game.

Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez (7-5) took the loss Tuesday despite a solid outing. Seven innings with five strikeouts and only six hits given up is a good day on the mound for any pitcher. He just lacked the run support from his offense and the two earned runs by Gattis were his only black eye.

The win pushed the Braves to 12-straight victories. The streak is the longest by a Braves team since a 15-game win streak that ended on May 2, 2000.

The Braves also added another come-from-behind win to total up to 37 on the season, which is a Major League leading stat.

Atlanta now leads the NL East by 14.5 games over the Nationals, the largest division lead in MLB.

Batting Title Update:

Since ending his multi-hit game streak at eight-straight on August 3, where he went 0-for-3 with two walks, Chris Johnson has been on a little bit of a slump.

The next night after the streak ended, Johnson seemed to be on his horse again with a 2-for-4, two-RBI game. He has been 0-for-4 with a strikeout in each of the two games this series with Washington, dropping his average back to .338 after being as high as .347.

Johnson still leads the National League with the injured Yadier Molina holding on to second from the disabled list.

Chris Johnson and the Braves will play for win #13 behind Kris Medlen (8-10) in the final game of the series with Washington and starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman (13-6) on Wednesday. First pitch from Nationals Park in Washington will be at 7:05 ET.

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Braves sweep Colorado with relentless offense

Atlanta (64-45) finished off the four-game series with the Colorado Rockies (51-59) with an 11-2 victory on Thursday night.

The fourth installment was nothing short of what the rest of the series proved: There is still life in the bats of the Braves!

Justin Upton appears to be coming back to life after his drought since April. He clubbed 12 home runs in the opening month of the 2013 season. Since the end of April, Upton had hit four HRs until Thursday. Thursday, he added two more. He brought in five runs with those two swings of the bat, his only hits of the night.

Jason Heyward scored three runs and hit a home run in the game. Freddie Freeman added to the contest with two hits of his own and scored two runs.

Chris Johnson drove in two on three hits. Thursday was his seventh straight multi-hit game, bumping his average up to .346, which continues to be the National League best. Johnson trails only Miguel Cabrera, who continues to be out of the Tigers lineup with an abdomen injury, for the MLB best average by just .013.

Only two Braves starters came up without a hit in the game. Leftfielder Evan Gattis was 0-4 and only saw five (5!) pitches in the match-up. Dan Uggla also came up empty with a walk and a strikeout.

Pitcher Julio Teheran (8-5) picked up the win for Atlanta on a solid 5-inning start. Teheran gave up one earned run on five hits. He walked two and struck out 11.

Teheran also got into the party at the plate. He hit an RBI double in the second inning. Teheran also singled in the fourth and scored on the Jason Heyward home run.

Scott Downs, David Carpenter, Luis Avilan, and Anthony Varvaro all saw work from the sixth inning on.

As well as Johnson getting his seventh straight multi-hit game, the Braves picked up their seventh straight win.

The Rockies series showed what Braves fans hope is the aggressive offense that lasts through October! Atlanta outscored Colorado 40-13 over the four games and outhit them 55-36.

Since the seven-game streak has started (or most notably since Waffle House opened up at the Ted), the Braves have outscored their opponent 51-16.

Atlanta carries the momentum of the back-to-back sweeps into a weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies, which begins on Friday at Citizens Bank Park Stadium.

With Cliff Lee out, Philadelphia announced on Thursday afternoon that they will be calling up right-hander Ethan Martin and making a corresponding roster change before the game on Friday. Martin is a product of Stephens County High School in Toccoa, Ga.

He will be making his MLB debut against Kris Medlen (7-10), and his hometown Braves, at 7:05 ET.

Pitching troubling Atlanta

“The Braves suddenly have pitching woes” reads the first line of Jason Mastrodonato’s recent article for mlb.com.

As I read the sentence, I kind of laughed in my head and thought, “The Braves never have pitching troubles. We’re always deep in the ‘pen. Usually our pitching problems come down to too many of them.”

The more I thought about it, and re-read the sentence again, I realized, “Holy hell. He’s right.”

Hudson’s down, Beachy is likely to be rushed back, and, as we all know, there are two strong relievers out for the season.

The article, titled “Braves leaning on Minor to anchor rotation,” goes on to point out what the title says, the team is pretty much dependent on how well Mike Minor pitches. Some how this season, Minor has become the ace of the staff. With Huddy’s broken ankle, that has now been all but confirmed.

Braves Country will be holding tightly to the coattails of Minor and following him into the dark. His first task P.H.A. (Post-Huddy’s Ankle) is to take the mound Friday against a tough Cardinals line-up, which has six players hitting above .300, including Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, and Carlos Beltran.

As far as Brandon Beachy is concerned, he threw a rehab game with Gwinnett on Wednesday night. His line (6.0 innings, 2 H, 2 runs, 1 ER, 4 walks, 3 K) was nothing to brag about, but, out of his 86 pitches, he threw 51 strikes. That’s a promising outing. As a fan, I would still love to see him get at least one, if not two, more starts and see that he is not experiencing soreness or fatigue, but it sounds like we may see him Monday against the Rockies.

Watching Wood get beat around the yard like a playground soccer ball on Thursday didn’t leave much hope for his help this season and his relief, Kameron Loe, definitely did not leave Braves fan feeling any more comfortable.

With Minor and Teheran throwing well, there is some ease of the minds of Braves fans, but Maholm, Wood, and Medlen are making it tough to put the rotation “out of sight, out of mind.”

Medlen has given up 20 earned runs in his last 5 starts (2-3) and has not seen the end of the sixth inning in his last 3 starts (0-3). Granted, it is hard to focus and pitch well when your team isn’t putting up runs for you, but you still have a job to do. Kris just isn’t getting it done right now.

With the trade deadline coming up and the state of the starting rotation, you have to wonder what moves the Braves are looking to make. If you are Frank Wren, do you go after starting pitchers or do you have a focus elsewhere to pick up help for?

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