If they're going to once again negate the potential dominance of another Cy Young Award-winning opponent, they're going to have to receive some assistance from their own baby-faced hurler, who is still in search of his first Major League victory.
Based solely on youthful appearances, Kris Medlen could certainly draw some comparisons to Tim Lincecum. But when he opposes the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner at AT&T Park on Tuesday night, the Braves right-hander will be easily identified as the definite underdog.
"I'm super pumped about it," the excitable Medlen said. "I guess it gets you going a little bit more going up against a guy of that caliber. But this is the big leagues and everybody up here is a solid pitcher."
With a loss in Monday's series opener against the Giants, the Braves waved goodbye to a three-game winning streak that they started after suffering through Medlen's control-challenged Major League debut. During that outing against the Rockies last week, the 23-year-old right-hander was forced to exit an ugly fourth inning, during which he threw just 15 of his 18 pitches for strikes.
Medlen, who had allowed just one run through his first three innings, completed a bullpen session at Turner Field on Sunday and walked away with the belief that he's fixed the mechanical flaws that haunted him during his forgettable debut.
"I really would like to not have to talk about that game again," said Medlen, who was 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA in the six starts he made for Triple-A Gwinnett before his promotion.
Since opening the season with a couple of rough outings, Lincecum has righted himself and gone 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in his past seven starts. Coming off three consecutive no-decisions, the 24-year-old right-hander will look to remain perfect against the Braves.
In four career starts vs. the Braves, Lincecum is 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA. Even while issuing four walks during both of his starts against them last year, he still combined for 15 2/3 innings and allowed just three runs.
When the Braves beat the Mets and Blue Jays during games started by Santana and Halladay earlier this month, Chipper Jones was out of the lineup. Due to a sprained right toe that has limited him to two pinch-hit appearances since Thursday, Jones will likely be absent from Tuesday's lineup.
This will put some more pressure on Brian McCann, who has five hits, including three doubles, in nine career at-bats against Lincecum.
"You never want to face guys who have his stuff," McCann said. "He's got some of the best stuff in all of baseball. As a hitter, you're not getting to the yard excited that you're facing him. We've got to grind it out, put up good at-bats and get to him early and rattle him a little bit. Hopefully we can do that."
ATL: RHP Kris Medlen (0-1, 15.00 ERA)
Medlen looks to shake off a rough Major League debut against the Rockies on Thursday. In that outing, Medlen pitched just three-plus innings, allowing five earned runs on three hits, five walks, a hit batter, a balk and two wild pitches. While making his first career road start, it will be important that he harnesses some of the emotions that seemingly affected him during his debut.
Lincecum has struck out 10 or more hitters in three games this season, including his most recent outing last Thursday at San Diego. He received a no-decision in that one despite allowing one run and four hits in seven innings. Lincecum has thrived in his limited number of appearances against Atlanta, going 4-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career appearances, including 2-0, 1.72 last year. Tidbits
In the 15 games he's played since returning from the disabled list with his prescription glasses, McCann has batted .431 with a .491 on-base percentage and .647 slugging percentage. His recent success should aid his bid to make his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance. ... During his past six innings, Braves reliever Buddy Carlyle has surrendered two grand slams and a three-run homer. Before this forgettable stretch, he had worked 13 1/3 innings and allowed just one home run. Jorge Campillo is expected to come off the disabled list this week and when he does, the Braves may option Carlyle to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Jeff Francoeur has just five hits in his last 35 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He began this season with seven hits in his first 15 at-bats with RISP. ... Jordan Schafer is hitting .103 (4-for-39) with RISP this year. Tickets
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640 WGST, Project 9-6-1 , Viva 105.7 (Español) Up next
Wednesday: Braves (Kenshin Kawakami, 3-5, 4.73) at Giants (Randy Johnson, 3-4, 6.26), 10:15 p.m. ET
Thursday: Braves (Derek Lowe, 6-2, 3.45) at Diamondbacks (Dan Haren, 3-4, 2.57), 9:40 p.m. ET
Friday: Braves (Jair Jurrjens, 4-2, 2.07) at Diamondbacks (Jon Garland, 4-3, 4.70), 9:40 p.m. ET
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less