On Saturday, Fredi Gonzalez announced that Kris Medlen was going to move up a spot in the rotation, lining him up to start the Friday wild-card play-in game after two more regular season starts. This was one of the options I laid out in my post last week.
By starting tomorrow night’s game, Medlen is set up to start Sunday on normal rest, then Friday on the same four days’ rest. This will give him the best chance to keep his amazing rhythm going, though you never know when that can end. It’s the safest move Fredi could make, which is why I can’t argue against it.
I just think it lowers the chance of advancing in the playoffs. Right now, there’s a strong probability that the Braves will face the Cardinals in the play-in game. St. Louis has a very right-handed heavy lineup, with Matt Holliday, David Freese, Allen Craig, and Yadier Molina carrying the lineup. Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker, and Daniel Descalso are the lefties, and they do not carry the same fear. Medlen is fairly neutral in his L/R splits, both in his results and peripherals. Tim Hudson‘s platoon results this season have been fairly even, but his FIP and xFIP are much better against righties.
Medlen gives the Braves the best chance to win, but Hudson would only slightly lower the odds of winning that one game. However, if the Braves go on to face the Reds or Nationals, their balanced lineup will hit Huddy more than Medlen. If the goal is to make the “true” playoffs and hope for the best, the Braves are taking the right option. If they expect to win series, this probably hurts those chances. There isn’t a right or wrong way to approach this game, since single games are so unpredictable. I would have lined up Huddy for the game, but going with your best starter is always a legitimate approach.