Kris Medlen has always been a great asset to the Atlanta Braves pitching staff. He's been a do-it-all guy who has filled many roles throughout his career.
I firmly believe his absence was a big factor in the Braves' late-season collapse that saw them miss the playoffs last year. Medlen's strong middle relief was sorely missed by the starters and the bullpen.
On Tuesday night, Medlen simply went out and did what he does.
After Donnie Murphy tagged him for a first-inning opposite-field solo home run, he settled down and held the Miami Marlins to three hits while working five solid innings, helping the Braves cruise to a 7-1 victory.
It was deja vu for Ricky Nolasco, whose struggles against Atlanta continued.
The offense went to work in the bottom of the first and got that run back and then some. An RBI groundout by Brian McCann evened the score. Juan Francisco, on his way to a 3-for-3 night, singled and drove in two to make it 3-1.
McCann went deep to make it 4-1. The only thing that chased Medlen from the game was the one hour, 53-minute rain storm that made its way through Atlanta. The storm made sure that this start would be short and removed any temptation to leave him in there.
His next start will be this Sunday.
"The Pastor" Tyler Pastornicky added a pinch-hit home run, and Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman each had RBI singles to finish off the scoring.
It was good to see Jair Jurrjens come in and work a scoreless ninth. Anything positive, no matter how small, is good for him right now.
It was even better seeing the Philadelphia Phillies bounce back from being swept by Atlanta go in to D.C. and pound the Washington Nationals 8-0. Stephen Strasburg looked like he needed to be shut down last night. The Braves are only two-and-a-half games out now.
Atlanta goes for its eighth win in a row and third win in this series Wednesday when Ben Sheets (2-0, 0.50 ERA) faces Wade LeBlanc (1-1, 1.15 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 ET.