Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ATLANTA — Kris Medlen dreamed of a playoff scenario with the Dodgers, all right.Just not exactly like the one in which he’ll have a starring role.Medlen, who grew up in Cerritos, figured he’d be an infielder for the Dodgers. He envisioned the wrong team and wrong position, but Medlen sure is in great position for the Braves as their Game 1 starter against the Dodgers in the National League Division Series on Thursday.“It’s a pretty cool feeling being able to play against them during the regular season,” Medlen said. “I think (there’s) the fact that I’ve had a couple years in the big leagues to kind of get over that love for the Dodgers. “We’ve missed him twice this year, the both times we played this series, but I think our team, with the confidence we have, he missed us,” Medlen said.Medlen will miss Matt Kemp — out for the postseason with a left ankle injury — but will need to keep Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez and company in check if he’s to hand things over to the back of a stingy Braves bullpen.Medlen was the unlikeliest of Game 1 starters four months ago, but he is the Braves’ best chance to go toe-to-toe with Kershaw.“Medlen, he’s earned it,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s a guy that pitched a big game for us last year. He pitched that St. Louis Cardinals play-in game, so he’s got that going for him.”Medlen started for the Braves last year in its 6-3 loss to St. Louis in the NL wild-card playoff game. Medlen gave up just two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, but Atlanta had three errors. He was 10-1 in 12 starts in 2012 before that game.“I think the buildup and anxiety of playing in a Game 7-type of situation last year didn’t get to me,” Medlen said. “I just thought it was more than a regular-season game than it typically is.“I think we’re in a different situation this year. We have a chance to win a series instead of one game, although every game matters.”He’s caught the attention of Kershaw too.“Medlen has a good changeup,” Kershaw said. “He’s been pitching awesome too, the last month or so, and obviously he’s had some success.”So have the Braves, who won 96 games, but some players were vocal with their frustration that the Dodgers and their big-name superstars were garnering more attention than the young, lesser-known Braves.“All the attention, I mean, we’re not running for prom king,” Medlen said.He looks young enough to run for prom king with a boyish face and skater-like way he wears his hat. But he’s got good stuff, and that’s what matters in October.“He has location with all his pitches and (good) movement on his fastball,” Atlanta catcher Brian McCann said. “For me, he has the best changeup in baseball. His curveball is very good. He can throw any pitch in any count. He’s a confident guy.”Confident enough to envision a day when he would play major league baseball.Just against the Dodgers, not with them. “It’s cool to face them, but they’re just another team.”Medlen, who turns 28 on Monday, looks every part the California kid on the mound with that signature flat-brim baseball cap.He looked none of the part of a Game 1 playoff starter early in the season. Medlen was 1-6 in May — rivaling the Dodgers’ dismal start — but he credited simplifying things for his turnaround.He was 4-0 in September with a 1.00 ERA and was named the National League’s pitcher of the month.Pitching like that gives you the swagger necessary to take part in a pitching duel with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, the favorite to win his second Cy Young Award this season. Medlen was 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA in the regular season and won one fewer game than Kershaw.
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