Inside Kris Medlen’s pitching clinic
“Maybe one of the best pitchers we faced. He’s got great stuff. Everything is strikes. He mixes his pitches very well. He attacked the strike zone, attacked the hitters.”–Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.
Kris Medlen’s 14th consecutive victory as a starting pitcher for the Braves was an absolute clinic. He should serve as a reminder to every young pitcher that location and movement is way more important than velocity. To quote Jimy Williams, “The most important pitch in baseball is strike one.”
At the moment, Kris Medlen is baseball’s best pitcher. He’s throwing three pitches for strikes, getting swings and misses on all three pitches, getting outs on all of them. Opposing batters simply have no idea what’s coming. Because Medlen can crank it up to 91 mph, they have to think fastball, which only makes his off-speed stuff that much better.
Let’s go to the numbers:
- He threw a first-pitch strike to 18 of 29 hitters.
- He threw 66 of 99 pitches for strikes.
- He had a 2-0 count three times.
- He touched 90-91 mph 26 times—15 in the first three innings.
- He threw 22 change-ups and 18 curveballs.
- He generated 10 swings and misses—seven on change-ups, two on curveballs and just one on a fastball.
(Medlen has allowed four home runs in 125 innings. That’s .288 home runs every nine innings, the best ratio among pitchers with at least 100 innings.)
(Medlen is 14-0 in 26 starts since May 31, 2009, and the Braves have a 21-game winning streak in his starts. He’s one away from the Yankees’ 22 straight victories with Whitey Ford on the mound in 1950 and 1953.)