In an epic pitching duel the Atlanta Braves held on to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night 1-0. The Braves overcame an excellent start by Phillies lefty Cliff Lee who struck out 13 and walked none in the game. Once again Lee was desperate for run support as he was matched by Braves starter Kris Medlen. Medlen spun a gem of his own allowing only 2 hits over 8 innings to earn his 15th win of the year.
The lone run was provided via a Chris Johnson home run in the bottom of the 8th inning. That was all Atlanta needed as they sent out their all-star closer Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel struck out 2 in his lone inning of work and did not allow a baserunner.
The outing was significant for Kimbrel as he earned a milestone save on the season.
Craig Kimbrel is the 1st National League pitcher with 50 saves in a season since Eric Gagne in 2003.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 28, 2013
That year was important for Gagne as he won the National League Cy Young award. Kimbrel is certainly in the discussion for the Cy Young award but most prognostications point to Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers winning it again. Gagne’s situation was slightly different in 2003 as he was in the midst of setting a major league record for successfully converting consecutive save opportunities with 84.
That being said 50 saves in a season is an excellent achievement and one that deserves applause. The Braves will rely heavily on Kimbrel when the postseason begins October 2nd.