Teheran continues strong finish to 2015 season
ATLANTA -- After some early-season struggles, Julio Teheran has once again gained reason to look forward to the chance to take the mound once every five days. The frustrations that followed him through July have evaporated as he has spent the past two months looking much more like he had the previous two seasons.
"I'm feeling confident," Teheran said. "I'm feeling my best right now. I'm not going to lie, I feel like I've got all my stuff back together and I'm competing. You can see whenever I step on the mound, it's like everything is working."
Everything certainly seemed to be working for Teheran during Sunday afternoon's 2-1 win over the Phillies at Turner Field. He carried a perfect game bid into the seventh inning and was two outs away from getting his first shutout of the season. His bid to notch his 11th win was erased when Andres Blanco hit a game-tying single off Peter Moylan with two outs in the ninth. But his effort certainly did not go unnoticed.
"He's rattled off four or five [starts] in a row where he's looked like we've seen him look the past couple years," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Hopefully, he can keep doing that during his next couple starts..He's been able to command his fastball on both sides of the plate and been able to throw his breaking ball. But today was about as good as I've seen him in a long time."
Teheran has allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of the 10 starts he has made since entering August with a 4.71 ERA. He has regained command of his fastball and consequently encountered more counts where he can use his slider as a weapon. In the process, he has started to look like the young hurler who earned an All-Star selection en route to producing a 2.89 ERA over 33 starts last year.
The enhanced confidence Teheran has gained over the past few weeks was on display as he got through Sunday's first six innings in perfect fashion. The longest perfect game bid of his career was erased by Freddy Galvis' leadoff single in the seventh inning.
"[The perfect game] is not something you want to put on your mind," Teheran said. "I was just thinking about making pitches."
With the help of Cameron Rupp's botched sacrifice bunt, Teheran pitched around a pair of eighth-inning singles. But after surrendering consecutive one-out singles in the ninth, including one that fell out of a sliding Cameron Maybin's glove, he reluctantly exited his 106-pitch outing. His frustration grew when one of the runners he left on base scored on Blanco's single. But A.J. Pierzynski preserved the rejuvenated starter's effort with his walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth.
"Everything was working today," Teheran said. "I was ahead in the count most of the day and I was attacking hitters. That was the difference. I know I didn't get the win, but I'm glad the team got the win."