Kris Medlen hurls shutout in fourth start for Braves

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Kris Medlen was so impressive while filling in for Tommy Hanson that the Braves had already decided to go to a six-man rotation in anticipation of Hanson’s return this week. Tonight he ensured that someone else is going to the pen if they opt to return to five starters next month.

Making his fourth start after 38 relief appearances, Medlen pitched a shutout against the Padres on Thursday. Backed by two homers from Chipper Jones, he allowed five hits, walked none and struck out six in the 104-pitch gem.

Medlen had a 2.48 ERA as a reliever this season, but he’s been even more spectacular as a starter. He’s allowed just three runs in 25 2/3 innings to date, good for a 1.05 ERA. The Braves have won all four of his starts.

How Medlen will hold up as a starter is the big question mark. The Braves knew they were taking a risk when they shifted him from the rotation to the pen in 2010, and he ended up hurting his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery. He was kept in the pen initially this year in part because the Braves were confident about their starters but also because they wanted to save wear and tear on his arm.

Still, there wouldn’t seem to be any going back now. Depending on how Hanson looks in his return and whether Ben Sheets and Paul Maholm can continue their surprising success, it’s possible Medlen will be the Braves’ second or third starter in the postseason, should the team advance.

Matt Vasgersian thinks bachelorette parties at ballgames are “obnoxious”

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Last night during the Cardinals-Cubs game, the ESPN camera caught sight of a group of women at the game for a bachelorette party. Play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian had some opinions about it. Here’s the exchange:

Vasgersian: Is there anything more obnoxious than the bachelorette party at the ballpark, by the way?

Jessica Mendoza: Why is it obnoxious?

Vasgersian: Congratulations, by the way, yeah, we’re all very happy for you, la la la la.”

Mendoza: Why is that obnoxious?

Vasgersian: It’s such a ‘look at me thing.’ You’re sitting behind like the bridal party — ‘Like, oh my god! We’re getting married! Ehhhhh.”

Mendoza: Woooow. Kind of harsh.

A-Rod didn’t say much other than laugh a bit and say “I love it, Matt.” Which I presume meant he loves the party being there but it could be that he loves Vasgersian’s displeasure at it. I dunno. It’s A-Rod. He’s a man of multitudes.

I’m not exactly sure why Vasgersian believes that people having a good time with their friends is “obnoxious.” Indeed, I would think that, given what he does for a living, he’d think it’s good for people to associate baseball with fun and togetherness. It’s a free country though.

I presume that, at some point, ESPN is going to make Vasgersian apologize, because ESPN doesn’t really want its baseball announcers to be in the business of calling baseball fans “obnoxious.” I further presume that Vasgersian probably won’t mean it because the sort of person who gets cranky at other people having a good time tends not to be the sort of person who does a lot of reflecting when it’s pointed out to him that he’s being a jackwagon. Such is the exercise we go through when this kind of thing happens, however, so let us all hit our marks, shall we?

In other news, I can think of a lot more obnoxious things that can happen during a ballgame than a bachelorette party. Like when play-by-play announcers ignore the action on the field for minutes at a time as they chat idly with their booth-mates about things that are not related to the ballgame.