Julio Teheran takes the mound against the Minnesota Twins on Monday night as the Atlanta Braves welcome the Twins to town for an interleague series. The Braves look to improve on their 1-4 record against American League teams behind the right arm of Teheran, who continually improves with each start.
The 23-year-old struggled through the start of the 2013 MLB season, posting a 7.31 ERA in three starts. His last four starts have been a different story as he’s lowered his ERA to 4.57.
Similar to Mike Minor in 2012, Teheran has found success by cutting down on his walks and home runs allowed. He allowed five home runs and issued seven walks in his first three starts, but just one home run and one walk in his last four. The last four outings have come against offensively capable teams in the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Perhaps Teheran had some early season jitters, but he’s looked much more like the pitcher that dazzled during spring training in his recent starts.
Teheran should be able to continue his hot stretch against the Twins by avoiding walks and allowing them to string together consecutive hits. The Twins rank last in the American League in slugging (.379) and second to last in home runs (30). They are a team that scores runs by getting on base, moving runners and getting timely hitting. As long as he doesn’t make it easy on them by issuing free passes, Teheran can limit the Twins offensively.
The last few starts have offered the promise that Teheran has in store for the 2013 season. I’d expect another strong start from the right-hander if he showcases the excellent command he’s had in recent weeks.