Braves set rotation for Medlen to be in line to pitch potential one-game playoff
Manager Fredi Gonzalez has altered his rotation to line Kris Medlen up to start the one-game playoff the Braves will play if they gain entry to the postseason with one of the National League’s two Wild Card entries.
Though there is still an outside chance the Braves could win the National League East, Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell had to start making plans for this one-game playoff which is scheduled to be played between the NL’s two Wild Card entrants on Oct. 5. The winner will advance to the Division Series.
If the Braves win the one-game playoff with Medlen on the mound, Tim Hudson would start Game 1 of the Division Series. The adjustments to the rotation also allow Hudson to start the one-game playoff if necessary.
“It’s no secret. Medlen has been our best pitcher for the better part of a month or two now,” Hudson said. “He definitely has to pitch important games for us, whether it be the first one or the second one. He’s the guy we’ve got to lean on. We’ve been leaning on him for a while now.” <p>
Medlen has compiled a 0.76 ERA and limited opponents to a .195 batting average in the 10 starts he has made since moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation. The Braves have won each of the past 21 games started by Medlen dating back to 2010.
If Medlen pitches the one-game playoff, he would be available to pitch Game 3 of the Division Series on regular rest. Hudson will be available to start Games 1 and 5 in the best-of-five series.
“In games like that, you want your best guys ready to go,” Hudson said. “I don’t think it’s any secret that (Medlen) has not only been one of our best pitchers but the one of the best pitchers in the game for the past month and a half.”
To put Medlen in line to start the potential one-game playoff, Gonzalez simply flip-flopped the red-hot pitcher with Paul Maholm in the rotation. Medlen will now start Tuesday against the Marlins and then make his final regular season start in the Braves’ home finale on Sept. 30.
Maholm will start Wednesday’s game against the Marlins and the struggling Tommy Hanson will make at least one more start on Thursday.
Hudson will start Friday’s series opener against the Mets and would be in line to pitch the regular season finale against the Pirates. But the Braves are hoping there is not a need for him to make that start. If they have clinched all that they can clinch at that point, Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran could start that last game of the regular season.