Teheran determined to get out of rut
LOS ANGELES -- Julio Teheran might never prove to be the legitimate ace he was fashioning himself to become the past two seasons. But right now, the Braves right-hander is simply concerned with proving he is not the pitcher that he has been throughout most of this season's first two months.
After creating some optimism with a few productive starts this month, Teheran was humbled in a cruel manner during Tuesday night's 8-0 loss at Dodger Stadium. He allowed a career-high eight runs and surrendered 10 hits while recording just one strikeout in 4 1/3 innings.
"I've never gone through this kind of thing," Teheran said. "But I'm just trying to learn from it and trying to do my best to get through it. Hopefully, I can work hard and get back to where I want to be like I did the past two years."
Teheran has certainly not resembled the pitcher he was as he produced a 3.03 ERA over 63 starts in 2013 and '14. Through his first 10 starts this season, he has posted a 4.91 ERA and allowed opponents to produce a .303 batting average.
"It comes down to execution of pitches," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Those pitches he's trying to get to come back against left-handers are getting left right over the middle of the plate. He's not missing barrels. We need to work on that."
Teheran has allowed 10 hits or more in just seven of his 77 career starts. Unfortunately, Tuesday night marked the third time he has done so within his past six starts. The one strikeout he recorded matched the career-low total he had produced in just two of the previous 73 starts he had made dating back to when he became a full-time member of Atlanta's rotation in 2013.
Left-handed batters hit .239 with a .292 on-base percentage against Teheran last year. This year, they have hit .371 with an astounding .456 on-base percentage against him.
"Every time I have a bad outing, it's just one bad inning," Teheran said.
This is not necessarily true given that Teheran had surrendered more than three runs in just one of the previous 50 2/3 innings he had completed entering this start against the Dodgers. But it certainly applied on Tuesday night, when he faced the minimum through the first three innings and then allowed seven straight batters to reach safely with one-out during a six-run fourth inning.
Howie Kendrick, Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis all recorded doubles during the fourth-inning uprising that simply added to the concerns Teheran had already created this season. Even though he had allowed one run or fewer in three of his previous four starts, he still has not looked like the confident and comfortable hurler he was the past two years.
Despite the fact that he had seemingly already established himself, the 24-year-old hurler can only hope that his recent struggles are a product of extended growing pains.
"Service time trumps age, especially now when these guys get to the big leagues so fast," Braves left fielder Jonny Gomes said. "I've never pitched a day in this league and nor will I ever. I'm sure he'll iron it out. He's still one of the decorated pitchers in the National League and an Opening Day starter for a reason."