There are lots of reasons for the Braves to win tonight. First, it would make three in a row at The Ted, something the Braves haven't done since the first weekend at home against the Nationals. Second, it's Bobby Cox's 68th birthday today and historically the Braves have gifted him a win (they're 15-5 on his birthday). Third, and most important, it's Kris Medlen's first major league start. He'll face off against the Rockies' Aaron Cook (2-1, 5.71 ERA) tonight as the Braves look to go two games over .500.
Medlen is 5-0 (in eight games with six starts) with Gwinnett this season with an impressive 1.19 ERA. Scouts give him a decent chance of being at least an average starter at the major league level as a number three or four. He has a better than average fastball that tops out in the low 90s. He also has a plus curveball and an average changeup. His curveball looks like a fastball coming out of his hand and he has impressive control, able to throw it for a strike or bury it in the dirt. He has really flourished in the minors after being moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation. I've seen him in person at spring training and at Gwinnett and am definitely a fan. I'm looking for tonight to be the beginning of a successful career for Medlen in the Braves starting rotation.
Diory Hernandez will make the move from Gwinnett to Atlanta with Medlen tonight. Hernandez is .355 at Gwinnett this year with 12 doubles and 20 RBIs, and is .481 against lefties. Omar Infante and Jo-Jo Reyes have both been placed on the 15-day disabled list after suffering injuries in last night's game. Infante will be having surgery to repair a fractured left hand and Reyes will be nursing a strained right hamstring. Both are big losses for the Braves, but not ones I think will be devastating.
Chipper Watch: Hope you didn't miss it last night. Chipper got hit #1,000 at The Ted last night!