Medlen Faces His Toughest Test Tonight
Photo courtesy of Melinda Pease
Kris Medlen (0-1, 4.91) is expected to make his third start in a Gwinnett Braves uniform this season, as he will oppose the International League’s top team in the form of the Pawtucket Red Sox (40-25). The Paw Sox were the first team to reach the No. 10, 20, 30 and 40-win plateu already this season and they possess a 2.5 game lead on Lehigh Valley for first place in the IL North. The G-Braves (35-30) currently reside in second place of the IL South after losing 10 of their last 13 games.
Medlen is stretching out to become a starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Tuesday night in Rhode Island should be the start that the G-Braves let him loose. Through his two previous starts for the G-Braves this season, the right-hander has yielded nine hits, four runs and has struck out eight while walking just two.
Medlen’s first start for Gwinnett was against the IL South leading Charlotte Knights on June 2. The righty was only allowed 60 pitches or four innings, whichever happened first. Medlen threw 66 pitches and lost the game after he allowed four runs on five hits in 2.1 innings of work. In his second start, the right-hander was given a little more freedom, working five scoreless innings en route to a no decision in Pennsylvania against Lehigh Valley on June 7.
Tuesday night should be the start that G-Braves manager Dave Brundage takes off the training wheels for Kris Medlen. It should be a good tune-up regardless, as the Paw Sox possess a great deal of Major League ready talent.
Former G-Brave Mauro Gomez and his 13 home runs, 43 RBI, 121 total bases and .296 batting average await Medlen, alongside his teammate who is one of the top prospects in baseball, Lars Anderson. The big first baseman has eight home runs and 34 RBI, alongside his 88 total bases this season, ensuring that it will be a great test for the Atlanta right-hander.
Don’t forget that Jose Constanza, J.C. Boscan and Julio Teheran are all back in G-Braves gear again. The three were sent back to Gwinnett on Monday, following their recent promotions to Atlanta. All three provided a much-needed boost to one of the best team’s in Major League Baseball. The Braves couldn’t be happier with their contributions either, as Atlanata has rattled off six wins in their last seven games.
Hopefully, Gwinnett’s offense will give Medlen some early support, as they did for Monday night’s winning starter Yohan Flande. The G-Braves drilled a season-high five home runs in the game and knocked around 14 hits in their 11-8 dismantling of the IL’s top team.
Lance Zawadzki led the charge with a 3-for-5 night, including two home runs. Ernesto Mejia lifted off for his team-leading 12th home run of the season, while Josh Wilson banged out his third homer of the year and Felix Pie registered his first home of the season. Medlen will be looking for much of the same from the G-Braves offense on Tuesday night as they oppose former Major League veteran and current Paw Sox right-hander Brandon Duckworth (6-1, 4.22). First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from McCoy Stadium.
By: Tony Piraro