Teheran shows he can still be dominant
PHILADELPHIA -- As the Braves spent the past few weeks evaluating the trade market for Julio Teheran, the offers they received confirmed that other teams had recognized he was no longer the imposing, impressive pitcher he had been in the past.
If Teheran finishes this season strong, the Braves could re-evaluate his value on the trade market or simply keep him with the hope that he will continue to prove as aggressive and successful as he was while looking like his old self during Sunday afternoon's 6-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
"He sure did [look like the old Teheran]," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I know that he and [Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell] had worked on some stuff in his side session and he was really happy with himself when he came out [of the game]."
This was not the most favorable matchup for Teheran, who was tasked with attempting to lower his 7.24 ERA against a recently red-hot Phillies lineup that included six left-handed hitters. But all that had previously ailed Atlanta's former All-Star hurler this year did not seem to matter as he limited Philadelphia to two runs over seven innings. He recorded seven strikeouts and did not issue a walk.
Teheran's performance helped the Braves snap a six-game losing streak and return home from a 2-8 road trip with some hope that a few more bright spots might indeed develop as they spend this season's final two months getting a taste of what the future might hold.
"I think it was my fastball. I commanded it really well today," Teheran said after notching his first road win since Opening Day. "I was trying to keep the hitters off-balance. I think that was the big thing for me today."
Along with commanding his fastball, Teheran harkened memories of the previous two seasons as he attacked the inside part of the plate.
"I was aggressive the whole time and I was pitching inside a little more," Teheran said. "That is something I haven't been doing a lot. But every time I do it, it's a different game."
Along with having previously struggled on the road, Teheran entered this contest having allowed left-handed hitters to produce an .893 OPS against him. But this lefty-heavy Philadelphia lineup really didn't pose much of a problem until Cesar Hernandez doubled and scored on an Odubel Herrera single with two outs in the fifth. Maikel Franco followed with a single, but Teheran promptly killed the threat with a Ryan Howard groundout.
Teheran concluded his outing in similar fashion. After the Phillies began the bottom of the seventh with consecutive singles, the Braves' hurler escaped unscathed.
"I know things have been a little slow during this road trip," Teheran said. "I was just trying to do my best, get a win and go back home."