Julio Teheran the Braves Stopper?

Strasburg against Braves

Stephen Strasburg (Photo credit: L. Richard Martin, Jr.)

Julio Teheran makes his ninth career start tonight against the Nationals, and draws a tough one as he matches up against Washington ace, Stephen Strasburg.  Someday Teheran may be the Braves “stopper,” but tonight he is just looking for his first Turner Field win.

Teheran is 1-0 on the season with a 5.48 ERA, Strasburg is 1-4 with a 3.16 ERA.  Teheran started against the Nationals on April 12, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out six and walking three.  He was also tagged for one home run.

Teheran’s last outing was April 23 against the Rockies, as he notched his first career quality start.  Teheran went seven innings, and gave up only one run on eight hits.  He struck out three, and displayed great control by walking none.

It was impressive that Teheran was able to go into a tough place like Coors Field, with very cold weather, and was able to deliver a high quality performance.  He finished strong by retiring 14 of the last 17 batters he faced.

Teheran has been solid against right-handed hitters this season, allowing them a .226 average with one home run.  The problem has been against left-handed hitting as they have torched him for a .415 average with 4 home runs.

The Nationals are not loaded with left-handed hitting, but Teheran will have to deal with a few lefties, including wonder boy Bryce Harper, who is having a big year (.360, 9 HR and 18 RBI).  Lead-off man Denard Span has also had his moments so far this season (.278, .356 OBP and 4 steals).  But former Brave first baseman, Adam Laroche, is hitting only .135.

My prediction for this evening is that Teheran will rack up his second consecutive quality start, and have the Braves in position to win late in the game.  He may not be the Braves stopper yet, but I think he is on his way to own that title at some point later this season.