CHICAGO -- After enjoying one of the most impressive two-month stretches of his young career, Julio Teheran certainly did not want to conclude this season's first half in this manner. But the Braves right-hander will still head to the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX)
CHICAGO -- After enjoying one of the most impressive two-month stretches of his young career, Julio Teheran certainly did not want to conclude this season's first half in this manner. But the Braves right-hander will still head to the All-Star Game presented by MasterCard (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX) feeling good about what he's accomplished and comforted by the fact that his previously infected right thigh no longer seems to be an issue.
"Other than the last two starts, I'm pretty happy with the way I've been pitching," Teheran said after allowing five earned runs over six innings of Saturday's 5-4 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. "It's a lot better than last season. I'm going to go to the All-Star Game and try to have fun and then come back for the second half. Like I said last year, it's not how you start, it's how you finish."
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Teheran owned a 2.46 ERA and was carrying a 23-inning scoreless streak before he allowed a season-high 11 hits and five earned runs to the Marlins on July 1. Earlier this week, it was learned that the outing had been influenced by some discomfort caused by a right thigh infection that worsened and required him to return to Atlanta for treatment earlier this week.
Thus, when Teheran allowed hits to nine of the first 14 White Sox batters he faced on Saturday, there was at least reason to be concerned that he was still dealing with the lingering effects of the ailment. But as he then proceeded to retire 10 of the final 11 batters he faced, he provided indication that he might have simply been hampered by the altered preparation schedule he experienced leading into this outing.
"The kid has been hooked up on antibiotics and he got stuck [with injections] all week, and he didn't really get trained like he wanted," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "So, I thought he did a great job getting through six [innings]."
Teheran surrendered a two-run homer to Todd Frazier that was nearly prevented by a leaping Ender Inciarte in the second inning. The Braves' ace then allowed hits to five of the first six batters he faced in the third inning. But Adam Eaton's leadoff walk in the fifth provided the only blemish to his line over the final three innings.
"He had two rough innings, but he pitched like an ace," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "He kept us in the game. When they score five runs in three innings, things can get out of hand. Of course, it didn't happen with him, because he's one of the best in the game."
While allowing five earned runs in both of his past two starts, Teheran has seen his ERA rise from 2.46 to 2.96. But the 25-year-old right-hander still enjoyed a strong impressive first half, as he allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his past 15 starts. Now he hopes for the opportunity to make a brief appearance in Tuesday night's All-Star Game.
"I'm going to take it like my bullpen day, and hopefully I get to pitch one inning," Teheran said.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.