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Medlen, Chipper shine in Braves win

8/17/2012

Atlanta Braves right-hander Kris Medlen spun a nifty five-hit shutout against the San Diego Padreson Thursday, lowering his ERA to 2.03 and likely securing his rotation spot. Medlen was a candidate to be pushed back to the bullpen, as right-hander Tommy Hanson is scheduled to come off the DL Friday, but with a 1.05 ERA in his four starts, Medlen is a must-own.

• Medlen's teammate, Chipper Jones, swatted a pair of home runs on his own bobblehead night Thursday, giving him 12 in only 76 games, along with a .315 batting average. Jones obviously isn't keeper-worthy, since he claims he's retiring, but he's helping owners now and is still available in a third of ESPN standard leagues.

Chicago White Sox left-hander Francisco Liriano earned his first victory in four outings with the team, allowing two runs on three hits over 6 1/3 effective frames Thursday. Liriano remains capable of ugly outings at any point, as with last week's six-run explosion, but he continues to pile on the strikeouts, earning six Thursday. He's available in three-quarters of ESPN leagues, but buyer beware.

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones hit a pair of three-run homers Thursday, giving him 19 on the season. Jones, a career .259 hitter currently plugging away at .283, is one of ESPN's most-added hitters thanks to a .315 batting average since the All-Star break. As long as he's facing a right-handed pitcher, Jones is as effective as ever.

Los Angeles Angels right-hander Dan Haren struggled again Thursday, allowing seven hits and five runs, including a pair of home runs, over 3 2/3 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that didn't reach base at all Wednesday against Felix Hernandez. Haren recently served a DL stint for a back problem and might not be 100 percent. Fantasy owners should keep him owned, but not active.

New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey gave up only one run over 7 2/3 innings at Cincinnati Thursday, earning his second win in five starts. It was Harvey's longest outing, and the eight strikeouts gave him 34 in 30 innings. It was also nice to see him walk only one batter after five walks in his previous outing. A 23-year-old rookie, Harvey might get shut down before the season ends, but when he's out there, he should get strikeouts and help in ERA and WHIP.