The Unsung Hero
With the trade deadline soon approaching I – like most Braves fans – hope to see another starting pitcher added to the rotation. Having a big arm to help out the core of this group would exponentially improve the team’s chances of advancing far into the postseason. However, if the Braves strictly focus on the bullpen and possibly an outfield bat, they will likely have to rely on a familiar face in a potential playoff series.
Julio Teheran – the 28-year old out of Colombia played on two All-Star teams and has a career ERA of 3.62, yet few in Braves Country believe he should be featured come October. The now nine-year veteran made his MLB debut in 2011 and has been a critical factor in every rotation since. Despite the lack of confidence shown by the fan base, Teheran is quietly having his best season since he was an All-Star in 2016 and holds the team’s second-best ERA among starting pitchers, becoming the unsung hero in establishing Atlanta’s 4.5 game lead in the NL East.
Coming into a season where many believed Kevin Gausman, Mike Foltynewicz or Sean Newcomb were going to take their place as the ace of the staff; Julio Teheran toed the rubber on Opening Day for the sixth time in a row (which tied Warren Spahn’s record for consecutive opening day starts). A lot of that had to do with injuries, but Teheran’s regression has been overplayed for years, and as this season has gone on, he’s only taken steps forward.
In the last 28 days or 4 games, the second-best Julio in the city of Atlanta (shout out to Julio Jones) has held opponents to a BABIP of .230 with an overall batting average of .188. Striking out nearly a batter an inning and carrying a WHIP of 0.887 in that same time span – contact has been difficult to come by for opponents.
After giving up 20 earned runs in April, Julio bounced back and only allowed 19 earned runs through the next TWO months combined and has only given up three earned runs in July. The constant decrease of the 28-year-old’s ERA is something to marvel at, as it has dipped from 5.35 on April 30th to 3.42 as of July 24th, proving his value to a potential playoff roster.
While Brian Snitker and the players in the dugout may not be concerned about it; fans are already tossing around ideas of who might start in October. Mike Soroka is an ace and has earned the opportunity to pitch in a Game one. Dallas Keuchel’s postseason experience primes him for a start in a Game two. But after that, the Braves could turn in several directions
Max Fried is a legitimate option. Perhaps Mike Foltynewicz or Kevin Gausman return to form over the finals two months. But as things stand now, nobody deserves a start in Game three more than Julio Teheran. With adversity staring him in the face, the second longest-tenured Brave has shown the poise necessary for a playoff atmosphere and is ready to prove that 2013 NLDS game against the Dodgers was a fluke.
Fast forward to 2019, and the National League once again runs through Los Angeles. Teheran, who is a firey competitor, would love his opportunity at revenge.
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