Kris Medlen takes the mound against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night with the intention of extending the Atlanta Braves‘ win streak to five games. Personally, Medlen will be looking to pick up his first win of the 2013 MLB season.
The Marlins are a team that Medlen has found success against in the past. He was 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 2012, and 5-2 with a 2.80 ERA in his career against the Marlins.
To continue that success, Medlen will need to keep Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco off the basepaths. Polanco has four hits in five career at-bats against Medlen while Pierre is 0-for-3.
Keeping those two players from reaching base helps to limit the potential damage of slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who can change a game with one powerful swing. Making him hit solo shots increases the Braves’ chances of winning.
Stanton’s struggles to begin the 2013 season are a major contributor in the Marlins getting off to a 1-6 start. Nevertheless, he is still a dangerous hitter. I’d expect Medlen to attack him in a similar fashion as Paul Maholm. Medlen should not give in to Stanton and work the outer corners of the plate. If he walks him, so be it — he can do so and attack the rest of a lackluster lineup.
Medlen’s counterpart on the hill Tuesday, Wade Leblanc, will get to deal with a red-hot Justin Upton. The 25-year old has six home runs through the first seven games of the season to lead MLB. Upton leads the team with 20 plate appearances against Leblanc, but has just two hits and zero home runs in those appearances. The production from the No. 3 hitters in Tuesday night’s game could be the difference in which team comes out on top.