FOX Sports South.com checks in with play-by-play announcer Chip Caray to get the latest on the Braves.
FOX SPORTS SOUTH: Kris Medlen after a 1-6 start has won four of his last five starts. Do you think were seeing a Medlen whos a little more like the player who had that amazing run last season?
CHIP CARAY: I dont know if well ever see a run out of anyone like that, but I think Kris has stuck with his game plan. He is what he is and what he is a very good pitcher.
The run support situation obviously was a sore spot for him for a while. He wasnt getting any runs and thats where pitchers wins are sometimes deceiving. You can pitch great and have a losing record if your team isnt scoring a lot of runs for you.
I give him credit. He knows what he is and I think hes had much better command of his fastball and hes getting ahead of hitters and hes getting balls on the ground. Even when he makes a mistake like throwing to the wrong base or missing on a slider and giving up a tying home run, he doesnt wilt under pressure. He bends but he doesnt break. I think that was really the hallmark of the way he has pitched as a starting pitcher for this ball club.
FSS: Hes certainly a guy who isnt afraid to make fun of himself. I think thats what has endeared him to Braves fans.
CC: Hes a happy-go-lucky guy and baseball is what he does, but its a very, very minor part of who he is.
One of the greatest areas I have the most respect for Kris is being a husband and a father first, watching him show us pictures of his new son, the stories he tells about his experiences as a new dad, the time he spends with his wife and just enjoying the major-league lifestyle.
More importantly, hes able to compartmentalize it when he goes between the white lines to pitch. When hes between the white lines is a very serious, very fierce competitor who wants to win and expects and demands standards of himself and thats why hes so good.
The bar was raised so dramatically and impossibly high for him last year that by comparison and its going to be very difficult for him to be as good as he was last year. Im not saying he cant. I think thats unrealistic.
FSS: The bullpen has continued to be the best in baseball despite the losses. Have you been surprised that theyve been able to move on without Eric OFlaherty and Jonny Venters and be so strong?
CC: Id say Im pleasantly surprised.
When you lose two caliber players of the left-hand relievers in Venters and OFlaherty that the Braves have lost, you automatically assume theres going to be a major drop off.
There are a couple of blips in the radar here and there but Luis Avilan has stepped up and done a terrific job and Jordan Walden, what a find that turned out to be for the Braves.
They had a surplus of starting pitching and traded Tommy Hanson for Walden and he threw 96, 97, 98 mph Wednesday night against the Royals and just blows people away, left-handed and right-handed. Thats a pretty nice complement to Craig Kimbrel before he gets to the ninth inning.
The Braves are doing a pretty nice job of piecing together the bullpen. Manager Fredi Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell have done an excellent job getting their pitchers in situations where they can thrive.
Hes pitched Alex Wood in some low-leverage situations to get his feet, although Wednesday nights game didnt work out as well as you would have hoped, I think Alex has done an excellent job too. As he continues to grow and mature and be effective hell probably move up in the bullpen pecking order.
Its a good bullpen and its a product of the farm system, you have good arms and you make astute trades and you have a chance to overcome injuries and the Braves have been able to do that.