LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Julio Teheran is in line to start opening day for the Braves, and again Friday he pitched like someone ready for the assignment.
Teheran was charged with two runs, two hits and one walk with four strikeouts in six innings of a 3-0 split-squad loss to the Tigers. He retired the first seven batters and last nine that he faced. He was perfect in four innings, and recorded 18 outs in 20 batters.
The Braves were also shut out in their other split-squad game Friday, an 8-0 loss to the Orioles in which reliever Anthony Varvaro gave up four hits, five runs and two walks in one inning.
“Teheran pitched great,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who’s expected to announce Saturday that the Colombian right-hander will start the March 31 opener at Milwaukee and name the order for the rest of the opening rotation.
In five Grapefruit League starts, Teheran has allowed 13 hits, three runs and three walks with 17 strikeouts in 19 innings, for a 1.42 ERA.
The Braves got five hits in five innings against Tigers opening-day starter Justin Verlander, but failed to score after putting two on with one out in the second inning and loading the bases with two out in the fifth.
The Braves totaled 14 hits to their opponents’ 13 hits in two games, but were outscored 11-0 by the Tigers and Orioles.
“We had some good swings at Verlander, had the bases loaded,” Gonzalez said. “That (being able to get out of those jams) is why he is who he is. But yeah, Teheran was outstanding.”
The Tigers’ runs came in the fourth inning after a leadoff walk by Ian Kinsler, who stole second base and scored on Ezequiel Carerra’s double on an inside pitch Teheran said was his only glaring mistake. After a wild pitch high-and-inside to Miguel Cabrera advanced the runner to third, Teheran struck out Cabrera for the first out.
With the infield in, Victor Martinez hit a sharp grounder that nearly knocked shortstop Tyler Greene off his feet. Carrera was going on contact and Greene, with little chance for a play at the plate, opted for the out at first base.
Besides Kinsler and Carrera in the fourth inning, the only other runner to reach base against Teheran was Steve Lombardozzi on a out-out single in the third inning. Teheran induced a double play by the next batter, Hernan Perez.
Etc. The Braves had six hits against Baltimore including one extra-base hit, a double by Andrelton Simmons…. Sidearmer Gus Schlosser, and opening day roster candidate, started and pitched four strong innings against Orioles, allowing one hit and one run with no walks and three strikeouts. He’s competing for one of the final spots in the bullpen…. Left-handed relief candidates Ian Thomas, Ryan Buchter and Atahualpa Severino all pitched against the Tigers, with Thomas and Severino working a scoreless inning apiece and drawing praise from Gonzalez. Buchter faced four batters, struck out two, and gave up a run on a double and single.