Teheran, 'pen walk Braves into trouble again
CLEVELAND -- In the third trip through the opponents’ order, Julio Teheran didn’t have it. Which meant he had to hand it over to the bullpen in the fifth inning. Which, as you know if you’ve been following along thus far in the 2019 season, spelled trouble for the Braves in the first game of a doubleheader against the Indians on Saturday.
The Braves managed to do some damage against two-time American League Cy Young Award-winner Corey Kluber, but the struggles of Teheran and reliever Wes Parsons paved the way to a six-run fifth inning for the Tribe in Atlanta’s 8-4 loss at Progressive Field.
It was a 2-2 ballgame entering the bottom of the fifth, and Teheran appeared apt to keep it that way with two outs and Carlos Santana at first. But Santana swiped second, and Greg Allen, who entered the day with a .036 average, hit a grounder down the first-base line, past a diving Freddie Freeman, for an RBI double. And when Tyler Naquin followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2, Teheran’s day was done.
This was a frustrating day for Teheran, both in the way the fifth unraveled with two outs, and the difficulty he had gripping his slider in the 48-degree weather.
“Obviously I didn’t have my best slider,” he said. “It was a battle. I knew I didn’t have my best, so I was fighting with my other pitches.”
Once Teheran departed, a familiar theme arrived for the Braves -- the dreaded relief walk. The club entered ranked 28th in baseball in relief walk rate (13.2%) this season. Parsons was summoned by manager Brian Snitker and walked the first batter he faced, catcher Kevin Plawecki. That set up consecutive RBI singles from the light-hitting Max Moroff, who had homered off Teheran earlier, and Leonys Martin. Parsons would go on to walk Jose Ramirez. After a passed ball charged to catcher Brian McCann and an RBI single from Jason Kipnis, the inning was totally out of hand, as the Indians had pushed their lead to 8-2.
Though the Braves got back-to-back homers from McCann and Matt Joyce off Kluber in the seventh, the damage was done and the club was on its way to its fourth straight loss.