It’s been a good season for the Atlanta Braves. It has not been a good season for Julio Teheran. Among the 77 pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title, Teheran is third-worst in MLB, and dead last in the National League, in fWAR. For every good stretch (e.g., three consecutive starts in April where he gave up a combined three runs, a two-start stretch against the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks where he allowed two combined runs and pitched into the seventh in each), he’s had a bad clunker or a poor stretch of starts. In particular, he hasn’t had two consecutive starts as bad his last two since the season began. Both of his most recent starts came against the Marlins — in the first, he allowed nine runs (seven earned) in four-and-a-third. In the second, he allowed three runs in five innings with a 4/4 K/BB ratio. The Braves lost the former and won the latter.
The offense was pretty good during the team’s five-game win streak, which was snapped last night, but was absolutely shut down by Zach Wheeler and the New York bullpen. Today, they’ll get in some hacks against Corey Oswalt, who was recently recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to make this start. In five career starts, Oswalt has looked like a typical AAAA type (135 ERA-, 128 FIP-), though his xFIP (108 xFIP-) at least suggests he’s better than his results so far. He’s actually been pretty decent over his last three outings (six runs in 16 innings, 12/5 K/BB ratio, just one homer allowed), but his struggles against lefties and with subsequent times through the order have led to relatively early exits.
The Mets are 2-3 in Oswalt’s five starts this season; the Braves, weirdly enough, are 12-9 in Teheran’s starts. This will be Oswalt’s first start against the Braves; Teheran has faced the Mets thrice already and has had some of his best starts of 2018 against them. In late April and early May, Teheran threw two near-identical outings against them, hurling seven scoreless frames with six strikeouts in each. His most recent start against them, on May 30, was also pretty good (seven innings, two runs despite a 3/3 K/BB ratio), but the Braves lost anyway because they inexplicably failed to score any runs against Jason Vargas.
This is more or less a “duh” statement, but Teheran’s success really relies on avoiding the home run, even though that’s not really up to him. The eight starts this year where he’s kept the ball in the park are pretty much his good starts. There are only two outings he’s had that include yielding a homer that are anywhere near as good as any start where he did not, and most of his homer-yielding starts are especially awful across the board. In other words, homer allowance appears to be a bellwether for his overall performance, so let’s hope he keeps the ball in the yard tonight at Citi Field.
Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets
Sunday, August 5, 2018
1:10 pm EDT
Citi Field, Flushing, NY
TV: Fox Sports South, MLB.tv
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM