Braves vs. Cardinals: Kris Medlen is the center of Wild Card attention Friday

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves are playing in the first ever National League Wild Card play-in game Friday afternoon, but that's not the story. The story is that Kris Medlen is pitching. On a team that built its mid-90s dynasty around unusual-looking aces, the Braves' 26-year-old swingman finds himself 10-1 with an ERA of 1.57 and a strikeout-to-walk ratio on the Roy Halladay side of five. With 138 innings on a surgically repaired elbow, he's the media's Stephen Strasburg replacement and their excuse to talk about Stephen Strasburg, all at the same time.

And he's pitched extraordinarily well. Since joining the rotation on July 31 he's made 12 starts, thrown 84 strikeouts against 10 walks in 84 innings, and carried an ERA of 0.97. He's also won nine decisions—the Braves won the other three games he started after he left.

So—justifiably—whatever happens Friday, whether it's a blowout Cardinals win or a narrow loss, will be filtered through Kris Medlen's performance. Did somebody finally get to him? Is he still invincible? Is he as good as everybody said?

I don't think anybody's as good as everybody's said about Kris Medlen, or as Medlen has pitched over the last two months. But I'm sure that whatever happens next, he's become one of those great stories that baseball throws off every few years—the stories that transcend the season, and the rest of the player's career, and even the Braves and the Cardinals and this Wild Card game, to become a touchstone.

Trending Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SB Nation St. Louis

You must be a member of SB Nation St. Louis to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation St. Louis. You should read them.

Join SB Nation St. Louis

You must be a member of SB Nation St. Louis to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SB Nation St. Louis. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.