The following news doesn’t come as a surprise, but it’s now official. According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Braves right-hander Kris Medlen will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery tomorrow.
This will be the second Tommy John surgery of Medlen’s young career. He previously had the procedure in August of 2010 and made it back to the majors in September of 2011. The Braves were widely praised for how they handled Medlen’s workload in 2012, first using him out of the bullpen before transitioning him to the rotation. After posting a 3.11 ERA over a career-high 197 innings last season, he was being counted on to serve as Atlanta’s ace this year, but now he has another long rehab ahead of him. Getting him back at some point during the first half next year is probably the best-case scenario.
In other injured Braves starting pitcher news, Brandon Beachy is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles tomorrow to get a second opinion on his elbow. He could soon be headed for a second Tommy John surgery of his own.
The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.
In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.
Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).
Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.
With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.