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Entries in Wild Card (5)


NL Wild Card K-Factor: Kris Medlen

The Atlanta Braves have managed to do what this year's Boston Red Sox team could not; they erased their failure to clinch the NL Wild Card in 2011 by making a strong run into the playoffs. They now have a one game, loser goes home playoff against the same team that knocked them out of the running last September: the St. Louis Cardinals. You can bet that Atlanta will be gunning for some retribution on Friday as they take the field in front of their home fans looking to take down the defending champs.

St. Louis sends RHP Kyle Lohse to the mound in the midst of a career season for the veteran starter. On the other side, Atlanta will throw young phenom Kris Medlen. Fresh off Tommy John's Surgery, Medlen was relegated to bullpen duty to start the season, being used in mid to high-leverage situations in a bullpen that featured both young fireballers lefty setup man Johnny Venters and right-handed closer Craig Kimbrel. 

On July 31st, Medlen was moved to the rotation, and every fifth game since then, the Braves have won a game. In those twelve starts, Medlen broke a long standing record winning each of the past 23 games he started. The major factor in this game is going to be if the young gun can stand the heat of the post season and continue posting zeroes on the scoreboard. Let's take a look at what Medlen has done since his first start of the season.

Just looking at his overall stat line is a quite a marvel:

12 starts, 0.97 ERA, .801 WHIP, .191 AVG against, .218 OBP, .265 SLG, .483 OPS, 9.04 K/9, 84 K to only 10 BB

Medlen's AVG against since becoming a starter July 31st

Since his first start, Medlen has given up less total bases than he has struck men out (79 TB). His strikeout pitch has been the fastball, reaching back for a little extra 48% of the time. His preferred location: down and away from right handers, and inside on left handers. 

St. Louis hitters have had only 22 total PAs versus Medlen this year, making him a mystery to most of their offense. The key matchup for Medlen will be versus Matt Holliday, whom he has already struck out once this year on a changeup. So far this season, Holliday has victimized offspeed pitches down and in averaging .333 and hitting 7 extra base hits.

Holliday versus Down and In Offspeed

If Kris Medlen can continue to control the plate with all three of his pitches then the Braves can look forward to increasing the win streak to 24.


Brett Myers' Improvement

Brett Myers of the Houston Astros has pitched to a 1.41 ERA over the last month, 5th best of any Major League starter.  In that six game span, Myers has gone 4-0 holding opposing batters to a line of .180/.273/.484.

One reason he's been so dominant has been his improved performance against lefties.

Brett Myers vs. LHB

Myers managed to keep the ball away from lefties more over the last month, and they were unable to do much against him.   They hit just .177 compared .302 prior to August 27th.  Lefties also saw a drop in slugging percentage against Myers, falling from .509 to .278.

Brett Myers vs. LHB

Myers is scheduled to pitch the last game of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday. While the game will mean essentially nothing to the Astros, the Cards are just one game back of the Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves. Brett Myers performance tomorrow could play a large role in determining which team will be sitting home in October.

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