Julio Teheran was the best pitcher for the Atlanta Braves during spring training. Through two starts, he is the only starter to not have an ERA below 3.00 on a MLB-leading pitching staff. Teheran will attempt to look like the pitcher he was in spring training as he takes the hill Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The numbers in his first two starts (0-0, 7.36) do not excite Braves’ fans, but Teheran should feel confident after his last outing. He got off to a rocky start against the Washington Nationals, allowing four runs in two innings. Many 22-year-old pitchers would unravel against a very good team, but Teheran settled down and allowed just two walks in his final four innings that allowed him to work six innings.
The final line may not look stellar, but getting through six innings saved the bullpen from being stretched and the offense eventually battled its way back in the win.
Teheran should build on that outing and feel confident heading into Pittsburgh. He features good four-seam and two-seam fastballs with a plus change-up and curveball. His outstanding arsenal of pitches looks for a promising future, and now the young pitcher just needs to learn the right combination of those pitches at the MLB level.
The challenge for Teheran on Thursday will be attacking Pirates’ outfielder Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen leads the team with two home runs and 11 RBI on the young season and is one of the best outfielders in the National League. The other bright spot for the Pirates has been the play of Starling Marte,who is off to a hot start with a .362 batting average and .928 OPS from the leadoff spot.
Despite ranking near the bottom of the National League in most offensive categories to begin 2013, the Pirates will still offer a challenge for Teheran. Similar to Teheran, they feature young talent looking to reach its untapped potential. Coming off a strong finish against the Nationals, Thursday night should be a start that Teheran aims to find consistency.