Atlanta Braves pitcher Kris Medlen (54) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during a recent game at Kauffman Stadium. (Photo: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports)
You couldn't tell it by his 2013 record, but Braves' righty Kris Medlen has been one of the best pitchers in the National League for the past year.
Medlen, who will start Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series against Miami, is 14-7 with a 2.00 ERA since the 2012 All-Star Game. Nobody can match his ERA since that time, with Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers next at 2.09.
His record this season is only 5-7, but Medlen has a 3.02 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings. He was 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA in June.
In June, Medlen had back-to-back games where he did not allow an earned run. In five starts he did not give up more than three runs. He kept the ball in the park, too, allowing just two home runs.
In his last start, Medlen beat Kansas City despite squandering a 3-0 lead in a game the Braves eventually won 4-3. Medlen struck out the last three batters he faced in the game, effectively using his changeup to keep them off guard, and got the win courtesy of a Jason Heyward homer.
"For J-Hey to come up and hit that ball, I knew I needed to have a nail-down inning," Medlen said.
The good month has enabled Medlen to turn around a poor start. He was 1-6 out of the gate, but was non-competitive only twice, posting poor outings April 27 at Detroit and May 12 against the San Francisco Giants.
Medlen has seen plenty of action against Miami as a starter and reliever. He's appeared in 16 games against the Marlins, six as a starter, going 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA.
Medlen beat Miami on April 9, allowing one run (unearned) in seven innings of a 3-2 win at Marlins Park.
STREAK: Won three
PAST 10 GAMES: 6-4
NEXT: Marlins (Tom Koehler, 1-5, 4.78) at Braves (Kris Medlen, 5-7, 3.02)
--RHP Tim Hudson quietly complained about being yanked after 6 1/3 innings on Saturday after surrendering the tying home run. "One hundred pitches is not a magic number for me. I would like to have had the opportunity to get a decision. But we won the game and that's all that matters," Hudson said. Hudson has gone 10 starts without a win.
--RHP Kris Medlen is 14-7 with a 2.00 ERA since the 2012 All-Star Game. Nobody can match his ERA since that time, with Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers next at 2.09. Medlen's record in 2013 is only 5-7, but he has a 3.02 ERA with 76 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings. He was 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA in June. Medlen is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 16 appearances (six starts) against the Marlins.
--RF Jason Heyward has three consecutive multiple hit games after going 2-for-5 on Sunday. Heyward was 6-for-14 against Arizona and improved his batting average to .231.
--LF Justin Upton has punished his former team this year. He was 4-for-12 in the series and 9-for-22 against the Diamondbacks this season, despite going hitless in five at-bats on Sunday.
--RHP Brandon Beachy threw his first bullpen session since being shut down in his return from Tommy John surgery two weeks ago. Beachy experienced no problems and will likely throw additional side sessions before he's sent out for any minor league rehab starts. There is no set timetable on his return.
--OF Jordan Schafer was still experiencing soreness after fouling a ball off his right ankle on Wednesday in Kansas City. Schafer was scratched from the original starting lineup on Friday. Schafer said he hopes to be able to play again on Tuesday.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We couldn't be in a better place, really. There's not a perfect team out there. We're in first place and pitching good and feel like we're still not swinging the bats like we're capable of." -- Manager Fredi Gonzalez after a win Sunday.
--INF Ramiro Pena (torn labrum in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 17. He underwent season-ending surgery June 27.
--C/LF Evan Gattis (right oblique strain) went on the 15-day disabled list June 18.
--RHP Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery in June 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett on May 19. He moved his rehab to Class A Rome on May 28. Beachy pitched for Double-A Mississippi on June 3, then pitched for Gwinnett on June 8. Following a June 13 outing for Mississippi, he complained of soreness, and he was shut down. An MRI found no structural damage. He played catch in late June, and he might begin another rehab assignment in early July. He isn't likely to return before the All-Star Game.
--LHP Eric O'Flaherty (torn ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list May 19. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery May 21.
--RHP Luis Ayala (anxiety) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 25 after suffering anxiety while dealing with high blood pressure. He was sent to Florida for strength and conditioning work after making five minor league rehab appearances with Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi. As of June 30, he was rehabbing with Gwinnett.
--LHP Jonny Venters (torn ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 27. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery May 16.
--INF Blake DeWitt (lower back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list April 20. He missed most of the second half of last season with back issues.
--RHP Cristhian Martinez (right shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 7. He began a rehab assignment with Double-A Mississippi on June 25.