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The Braves opened the season with more starting pitching than they knew what to do with. Even after trading Derek Lowe to the Indians, Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino and Julio Teheran were all vying for rotation spots.
However, Vizcaino was lost for the season to Tommy John surgery before it even started, and after 13 brilliant starts Beachy suffered the same fate.
Jurrjens pitched so poorly early on that he was demoted and he has never quite figured things out, while Teheran struggled mightily in Triple-A only a season after dominating the league.
Delgado made 17 starts before being sent down, and Minor pitched poorly early on before figuring things out and locking down his rotation spot.
So how does all of this make the Braves lucky? Well somehow, they pieced together a rotation, with reclamation project Ben Sheets (4-4, 3.54 ERA) making eight big starts, Paul Maholm being acquired from the Cubs at the deadline, and most important of all, Kris Medlen.
Medlen, a 26-year-old who has bounced between the bullpen and rotation for four seasons, made 38 relief appearances before joining the rotation out of necessity. In 10 starts since, he's gone 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA, and has emerged as the ace of the staff.