Braves

The Braves are getting the most out of their starting pitching

dkb180921004 braves vs phillies

If Julio Teheran played the Marlins every night, he’d be prancing to a Cy Young award.

To be fair, so would 90% of major league pitchers, but Teheran entered Wednesday night with a 0.36 ERA in four starts versus the Fish (25.0 innings), and nothing changed this time around.

The Braves started the scoring in the second inning when Tyler Flowers tripled (yes, you read that right) to score Josh Donaldson. Adeiny Hechavarria would follow Flowers and exact revenge on his former team with a no-doubter over the left-field wall, and a stylish bat flip that carried some intent with it followed. Three innings later, Acuña would add to the party with some vengeance of his own, blasting a ball well over the 400 sign in center field. That would be all the scoring for either team, as Teheran was at the top of his game against a team he has claimed ownership of.

There weren’t many opportunities for the Marlins to score. They only collected five hits as well as three walks off Teheran but could never string any together for a run. The veteran Brave also struck out a season-high nine batters in seven innings. He now has allowed one earned run in 32 innings against the Fish, but his dominance hasn’t strictly been reserved for Miami. Since May, Teheran has a sub-three ERA, and opponents have hit .220 against him. After being left out of the playoff rotation a year ago, he has done plenty to let Brian Snitker know he wants to be more involved come October.

Julio isn’t the only starting pitcher enjoying success, however. Max Fried has not hit the wall that many people expected him to in his first year as a starter. Over his past six starts, he has a 2.48 ERA, looking much more like the pitcher that electrified to begin the season, and maybe even better. His last start might have been his most impressive too. He allowed the Dodgers to score three in the first on a Cody Bellinger home run that barely left the yard but then buckled down to finish five innings without allowing another run, giving the Braves a chance to win, which they ultimately did.

Mike Foltynewicz has also shown signs of overcoming his abysmal start to the season. His ERA of 5.06 isn’t beautiful, but the eye test screams he is rounding into form. The slider is no longer a floating disc hovering over the middle of the plate, and his velocity has returned. As a result, he has 19 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched with two of his three starts coming against the powerful lineups of the Twins and Dodgers.

Dallas Keuchel has put together back-to-back stellar outings since getting run out of Miami to the tune of eight runs over 3.2 innings. Outside of that, he’s only allowed more than three earned runs two times in twelve starts. When the control is there, Keuchel is as tough to hit as anybody in the Braves rotation. That control should only get better as he continues to get his feet under him this season.

And Mike Soroka, well he’s Mike Soroka. He’s been one of the five best pitchers in baseball the entire year, and despite being a rookie, he should undoubtedly be given the ball in game one of a potential playoff series. I’ve never seen a freshly turned 22-year-old with so much confidence and poise on the mound. Soroka will look to keep his Cy Young-Esque season going tomorrow, as the Braves go for a sweep of the Fish in their final matchup of the year.

It’s been a rocky ride for this group, but they have become a force as of late and are now carrying a Braves lineup that has suffered a litany of injuries over the last month. I can say I’m more than confident in whoever takes the bump on any given night, and that’s something most other teams do not have the luxury. Slowly but surely, the three phases of the game are beginning to look more-and-more complete. Now, it’s time to get healthy.

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