Kris Medlen began the 2013 season as the Atlanta Braves‘ ace almost by default. It was Medlen who fans envisioned leading a balanced rotation in 2013 after his improbable winning streak and starting the one-game playoff game to finish the 2012 season.
However, this season did not begin how he or fans had hoped with just one win in the first two months. Medlen was not pitching poorly as evidenced by his 3.48 earned run average at the end of May, but he was not the crisp and efficient pitcher that he was in 2012.
The right-hander has shown signs of returning to that impressive form in recent starts, winning three of his last four to begin June to improve his record to 4-7 and lower his ERA to 2.96. Medlen would have pitched a scoreless game in his last start if not for his fielding blunder. With runners on first and second, Medlen fielded a ground ball and inexplicably decided to throw to third instead of second for a double play. The throw was errant and two runs came around to score on the play with another runner reaching second base. Despite the blunder that eventually led to three runs, he still went seven innings and struck out seven batters with no walks.
The time looks right for Medlen to build on that success in Tuesday night’s start against the Kansas City Royals and over these next few games. With Brandon Beachy set to return to the rotation in the near future, there have been rumblings of Medlen returning to the bullpen to make room for him. Medlen is arguably the most competitive player on the Braves roster, and he has no plans to leave the rotation.
How do you ensure that happens? Pitch lights out.
And we know Medlen is capable of doing just that. We may look back at June being the turning point for Medlen’s 2013 season. Keep an eye on his effectiveness in Tuesday night’s game against the Royals.