The Braves and Cardinals set their rotations specifically for Kris Medlen and Kyle Lohse to pitch in a potential one-game playoff. When the two clubs meet on Friday night, we should be in for a terrific meeting on the mound with two righties who don't posses the electric stuff other staff aces might. Instead, they do it with command, location and smarts on the mound.
Let's take a look at the two pitchers and how they fared this past season.
Medlen by the numbers (as a starter): 9-0, 0.97 ERA, 9.04 K/9, 1.08 BB/9, 2.22 FIP, 83 2/3 innings pitched
Medlen, 27 on Sunday, began the season in the bullpen as he continued building strength from Tommy John Surgery. He joined Atlanta's rotation in late July and never looked back, taking home NL Pitcher of the Month honors in August and September.
He features three pitches, throwing any of them at any time in the at-bat. His fastball clocked in at 90 mph in 2012, and he throws it 61% of the time. His changeup is his best pitch -- and is one of the best pitches in baseball, honestly -- and it has a nice separation in velocity, coming in about 10 mph less than his fastball. Medlen's third pitch is a big curveball which sits in the mid-70s.
Lohse by the numbers: 16-3, 2.86 ERA, 6.10 K/9, 1.62 BB/9, 3.51 FIP, 211 innings pitched
Lohse, who celebrated his 34th birthday on Thursday, led St. Louis with 211 innings pitched and was second in wins, just two behind Lance Lynn.
According to FanGraphs, Lohse typically throws four pitches. His fastball sat right around 90 this year and he's throw it a little more than 50% of the time, especially early in the count. His slider is his strikeout pitch, and it comes in the low-80s with the ability to reach 85 or so. His changeup, like Medlen's, was clocked around 80 mph in 2012. Lohse will also mix in a curveball on occasion, although he threw it just 5% of the time this past season.
As you can see, both of these pitchers are pretty similar. Neither Medlen nor Lohse are going to blow you away, but they aren't going to make silly mistakes, either. They work off their fastball, which they have solid command of. Their changeups can be a great out pitch, especially against left-handed batters. And when they need to reach back for a strikeout, they'll break out a breaking ball which can cause a lot of problems for righties at the plate.