Last year Kris Medlen was the breakout star of the Atlanta Braves starting rotation. It seemed like a no-brainer to select him as the pitcher to start the all important wildcard playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals. That didn’t go all that well for the Braves as they lost the game and were sent home before the real playoffs even began. That wasn’t Medlen’s fault but he is still way more prepared and battle-tested this season. He is clearly way more ready to lead this team into the 2013 MLB postseason than he was last season.
The proof of this fact is all over the season and his attitude throughout. He has gone from relaxed to passionate, from top starter to nearly being put back in the bullpen and back again. With the injury to Tim Hudson, everyone stepped up but Medlen really is the one that made the biggest step forward. The pitching duel between he and the unbelievably good Cliff Lee with the Philadelphia Phillies proved that he is ready.
There are no guarantees but if he can duel with Cliff Lee, he can duel with any starter in the game. Even last season’s playoff failure only saw him give up 2 earned runs in 6.1 innings. The other three runs were unearned. Still, this year Medlen is clearly more ready. He has been through a long time period where he had to search for and rediscover his great stuff and he did so. Now, he is obviously confident and calm while also having quite a bit more fire in his belly than he had last playoff season. If I were the Braves, I would have chosen none other than Medlen to lead them in.