Julio Teheran looks more comfortable each time he takes the mound in this spring training. Teheran continued his impressive run by going five hitless innings in the Atlanta Braves‘ 10-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. He added six strikeouts (three looking) and the only blemish was two walks and a balk.
Perhaps his most impressive inning came in the second when a few things didn’t go his way and was forced to work out of some trouble. After striking out the leadoff hitter, Oscar Taveras reached base on an error by Dan Uggla. A strikeout, balk and walk set up first and second with two outs. Though that’s a situation that could lead to frustration for a young pitcher – even in spring training – Teheran calmly got a groundball out to end the inning. It was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
The Braves’ top prospect was perceived to be the heavy favorite to win the final starting spot in the rotation barring a disastrous spring. That has not happened and he has, in fact, been the best starting pitcher in the spring. Following Tuesday’s outing, he lowered his ERA to 1.29 while allowing just four hits and four walks (0.57 WHIP) to 18 strikeouts. He leads the five starters in all categories besides the issued walks.
The debate can be put to rest. Teheran will be the fifth starter to begin the MLB season.
Other Notes: Eric O’Flaherty made his first spring training start of 2013, allowing two hits and striking out one in a scoreless inning. Luis Avilan was roughed up for three runs off four hits in the seventh inning. Evan Gattis raised his average (.464) and slugging (.857) following a perfect 2-2 day with doubles and three RBIs.
Strikeout Watch: The Braves struck out five times on Tuesday, which brings their total to 135 and a tie for the most this spring with the Chicago Cubs.
Upton Brothers: Justin Upton went 0-1 with a walk. B.J. Upton continued his hot streak with an RBI single.
Third Base Competition: Chris Johnson got the start and went 0-3 with a strikeout and three left on base.
Up Next: Kris Medlen will take the mound against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.