Kris Medlen and Atlanta Braves Make Statement in Sweep of Cardinals
The last week had not been a good one for the Atlanta Braves. They lost their best pitcher to a season-ending injury in Tim Hudson. Paul Maholm headed to the disabled list amid struggles and Kris Medlen was rumored to be headed out of the starting rotation. All of that coming into a three game series with the best team in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals. Who would have guessed that amid all of the pitching questions this week, they would have a pitching dominated sweep of the Cardinals on Sunday evening capped off by a solid Medlen outing?
I will say right off the bat that I would have guessed wrong on that one. Honestly I thought Mike Minor and Julio Teheran had a good shot at close-game, hard-fought wins if the offense came through. That did happen but with the struggles Medlen has had, his success on Sunday was a surprise. He pitched six solid innings giving up only two runs. He struck out four and most importantly had good location that led to lots of ground balls, including a few big double plays.
What does this mean? It means the Braves have a big lead in their division for a reason. It means they are just as good of a team as the Cardinals are and in spite of any grumbling from some people, are a very capable offensive squad as well. It is completely possible that they might not make a move for a starter now. As difficult as it is to believe, they now have a real chance to make it with the guys they have. Brandon Beachey will make his big return on Monday.
If any move would be made now, it is possible that Alex Wood might slide back to the bullpen or to triple-A if they don’t want him shortened to bullpen length again. For sure it will be interesting to see what effect this sweep has on the trade rumors around the Braves.