kris-medlen

Medlen may have pitched his last game in a Braves uni

Looks like Meds has ligament damage, which means Tommy John surgery is all but assured. He’s seeking a second opinion but I’d place the odds of him pitching this year at less than one percent. Sadly, we may never see Med Dog, one of our favorites, in a Braves uniform again. He’s due to make $5.8 million this year and will be a free agent after 2015.

Considering the price tag, Medlen is a likely candidate to be non-tendered after this season. He could return, but at a reduced salary. That rarely happens.

Regardless, it’s a bad day. Best of luck to Kris.

Medlen stat du jour

Via Grantland, which has a nice piece about the Braves ace:

• Medlen is the first pitcher since earned runs became official in 1912 to have at least eight wins and an ERA of 0.76 or lower, and average at least one strikeout per inning over a 10-start span.

• Only one other pitcher in Braves history won at least eight games with an ERA below 1.00 over any 10-start span. Warren Spahn went 10-0 with a 0.99 ERA over a 10-start span in 1961 (July 30-September 10).

Med Dog, meet Mad Dog and Gibby

Medlen is on about as good a run as any Atlanta Braves pitcher ever, maybe any pitcher ever. After some (admittedly limited) research, I found a similar stretch composed by the master himself in 1994, and another super-human streak by Bob Gibson. That was perhaps Maddux’s best year. He was 16-6 — hard to figure how he lost six games, as he allowed more than 3 earned runs once in 25 starts — with a 1.56 ERA.

He posted a sub-2 ERA the next season, too.

Anyway, in 8 starts during July and August of 1994, Doggie pitched five complete games, with a .93 ERA, and allowed a .182 batting average. His record in that period was 6-2.

Medlen’s run this season has been even better than that by some measures. As commenters mentioned, he’s 8-0 in 10 starts, with a .76 ERA, a .195 opponents batting average, and a .821 WHIP.  He has completed “only” two games, but could easily have gone nine last night. Fredi, wisely I think, is careful to keep him fresh. Plus, Medlen was on a pitch count in his first couple starts as he was coming from the bullpen.

Maddux, of course, did his finest work at the height of the steroid era. I don’t think either of these guys has been tainted, but as a sign of the times, in 1994 Matt Williams — nice player but he never hit 40 HR in another season — and Frank Thomas — likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer — were both threatening Roger Maris’ season home run record when the strike hit.

In an entirely different era, Bob Gibson fashioned a jaw-dropping streak. In June-July 1968, he pitched 12 straight complete game wins, including eight shutouts, with a .50 ERA.

What Medlen is doing is nearly as impressive as what Gibson did. Of course, Gibson essentially pitched that way for an entire season.  Then again, the overall MLB ERAs in these three seasons add perspective:

1968: 2.98; so Gibby’s run was 2.48 under that

1994: 4.48, Mad Dog’s run was 3.55 under

2012: 3.99, MedDog’s run is 3.23 under.

Keep it up, MedDog.

The Junior Maddux

The real BMF

I’m downright giddy watching Kris Medlen twirl yet another gem. He’s not Greg Maddux — never will be.  No one will. But he’s the closest facsimile we’ve seen since Mad Dog departed for Chicago.

(And then he gives B-Mac a comical hug after the catcher is hit in the jimmy by a foul ball. Pure Maddux.)

You’ll notice it’s taken less than two hours to play 7 innings. Medlen’s barely worked a sweat.

Games like these are why I love baseball.