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Medlen has thoroughly dominated for Atlanta this season.
Per the new rules regarding MLB playoffs, the two wild card teams from each league will play a one-game playoff for a chance to play one of the three division winners.
As it stands right now in the National League, the Cardinals would play the Braves. The top two candidates to start that game would be Lance Lynn or Kyle Lohse for St. Louis, and Kris Medlen or Tim Hudson for Atlanta.
The Braves have the decisive advantage in these matchups.
Medlen has often been unhittable in his 9-1, 1.64-ERA campaign. The Braves have not lost in any of his 11 starts, recently winning 21 consecutive with Medlen on the mound.
The man simply does not walk batters or give up home runs. His electric stuff has yielded 116-strikeouts to just 22 walks in 2012. Until his latest start on Tuesday, he had given up just two jacks on the season.
The relatively high frequency with which Holliday, Beltran and Freese strike out will feed into Medlen’s skill set.
Tim Hudson, on the other hand, is an entirely different, yet still effective starting pitcher.
Hudson leads the team with 16 wins, but doesn’t exactly have the dominant stuff like Medlen. He relies more on a sinking fastball, changing speeds and his veteran guile. The biggest stage is by no means a stranger to the wily Hudson.
For the Cardinals, Lohse is one of the overachieving types.
His win-loss ratio of 16 to 3 and 134 Ks to 34 walks are certainly noteworthy. However, he falters in grand fashion when it matters most. His 11 earned runs allowed in 12.2 innings of works last year in the postseason reflect that losing tendency.
Lance Lynn doesn’t even have that kind of postseason experience.
He has emerged victorious in 17 starts this season, but has just 30 in his brief career. Also, he did indeed register postseason outings last year, but only out of the bullpen. Starting such a high-pressure contest is another matter entirely.
The veteran Chris Carpenter, for his part, is still a wild card himself with only one start on the season. He’ll work off another limited pitch count on Wednesday and remains questionable for the one-game playoff.
So with regards to pitching, Atlanta holds the keys to victory over St. Louis.