Home Runs Plague Kris Medlen and Atlanta Braves in Loss

By Daniel Kock
Kris Medlen Atlanta Braves
Daniel Shirey-USA Today Sports

The San Francisco Giants used the long ball to defeat Kris Medlen and the Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Sunday and take three of four in the series.

Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro each hit solo home runs off Medlen that proved to be enough against the Braves’ anemic offense. In total, Medlen went 5.1 innings allowing five runs (three earned), eight hits and issuing five walks to just one strikeout.

The home runs have surprisingly became an issue for Medlen early in the 2013 season. He is now tied with Braves’ starters Tim Hudson, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran for the most home runs allowed on the team (6). For comparison, he allowed just six home runs the entire 2012 season in 138 innings.

It’s hard to pinpoint a specific reason for the home runs in looking at Sunday’s game. Belt drove a fastball over the outside corner for an opposite field home run. Sandoval hit a changeup left up in the zone into McCovey’s Cove, and Scutaro hit a hanging curveball just over the left field wall. The Giants rank near the bottom of the National League in home runs, and that bomb was Scutaro’s first of the season.

Sunday’s game demonstrates the importance of pitch sequence and location. Traditional non-power MLB hitters will still punish pitches in the middle of the plate, and Medlen doesn’t seem to be as pinpoint with his location in 2013 as he was in 2012. He doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, but did have great feel for all his pitches.

Finding that elite feel for all his pitches will help Medlen get back to his 2012 form. While he hasn’t been bad in 2013, he still has just one win on the season.

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