Thanks to a combination of sloppy play by the Colorado Rockies and unreal pitching by starting pitcher Kris Medlen, the Atlanta Braves needed only 5 hits to score 6 runs and cruise to an easy 6-1 victory.
Jim Tracy commented to MLB.com recently about his skepticism when it comes to September hot streaks, by his own team or otherwise. He noted that he would rather play a contender every day than rack up misleading victories against opponents who are also out of the race this season. Part of the reason for this thinking might be a desire to have his young hitters gain experience against a more polished starting pitcher rather than a guy who might be auditioning for a role in the future.
Enter Kris Medlen.
Medlen was the story in this game, going the distance and striking out 12 in the process. It would have been a complete game shutout if not for a throwing error by shortstop Paul Janish on a tough play in the hole. Medlen dominated with a wicked changeup and precise location on all his pitches. Some of the called strikes on the outside corner brought me back to the days of my youth watching all-time greats like Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine. While I do not want to slip into hyperbole, some of the pitches truly looked that good and that unfair to the hitters.
Tyler Chatwood never gave himself a chance in this game, issuing 5 walks. The four man rotation relies on efficiency, a concept that alluded Chatwood today. Combined with a moment when Jordan Pacheco managed to make two errors on the same play, it meant the Rockies were buried in this game early.
They will have three more chances to gain experience against a contending Braves team in this series. In that sense, Jim Tracy is getting his wish when it comes to September baseball…for better or for worse.