Gem of a matchup in dog days: Fernandez vs. Teheran

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, once again one of the game's dominant pitchers after returning last month from Tommy John surgery, faces Julio Teheran in a Friday night matchup at Turner Field. (AP photo)
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Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, once again one of the game's dominant pitchers after returning last month from Tommy John surgery, faces Julio Teheran in a Friday night matchup at Turner Field. (AP photo)

 

These are the sort of dog days of summer that Braves fans have rarely seen in the past quarter-century, when the weather is still blazing and more than 50 games remain on the schedule but, for all intents and purposes, only pride is left to play for. Well, pride and perhaps future job consideration.

But tonight provides a respite. For tonight, we have a bona fide gem of a pitching matchup on tap at Turner Field. The Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, once again among the majors’ most dominant pitchers after returning last month from a year-plus rehab for Tommy John surgery, vs. the Braves’ Julio Teheran, who has been one of the NL’s worst pitchers on the road this season, but one of its best at home.

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, once again one of the game's dominant pitchers after returning last month from Tommy John surgery, faces Julio Teheran in a Friday night matchup at Turner Field. (AP photo)

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, once again one of the game’s dominant pitchers after returning last month from Tommy John surgery, faces Julio Teheran in a Friday night matchup at Turner Field. (AP photo)

Fernandez is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA and .216 opponents’ average in six starts, with 47 strikeouts and nine walks in 38 innings. Again, those are his first six starts since returning from TJ surgery. So much for taking a while to get his groove back, huh?

In his past three starts, Fernandez has 26 strikeouts with eight walks in 19 innings, with 13 hits and four runs allowed. That high-90s fastball and devastating slider or curve, or slurve, or whatever the hell it is, are back in full effect. Electric stuff is a term used perhaps a bit too often, but in his case it absolutely applies.

This will only be the third road start Fernandez, who is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in his previous two, albeit with a dominant .188 opponents’ average, 17 strikeouts and three walks in 13 innings. (He still has never lost a game in Miami, where he’s 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four home starts this season and a staggering, MLB-record 15-0 with a 1.14 ERA  in 24 starts at Marlins Park in his career.)

Against the Braves, Fernandez is 3-1 with an 0.93 ERA and .130 opponents’ average in four starts, including 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in his past three. In those latter three, he’s allowed 10 hits, one run and five walks with 27 strikeouts in 23 innings. Yikes.

The only Braves with a homer or more than two hits against Fernandez is the DL’d Freddie  Freeman, who’s 3-for-12 with a homer off him. The only other Brave with more than one hit against him is the injured Andrelton Simmons, who is 2-for-10 against Fernandez.

The only other Brave with a hit against him is Chris Johnson (1-for-10).  And only three other Braves have even faced him in a regular-season game, none with more than three at-bats against him. Some will be facing him for the first time tonight. Should be interesting. Let’s see what Braves’ 30-year-old Cuban rookie Adonis Garcia will do against his fellow Cuban.

With the game being played at Turner Field, this could be a special matchup. Teheran is 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA and .201 opponents’ average in 10 home starts, compared to 2-5 with a 6.75 ERA and .326 OA in 12 road starts.

He flipped the script a bit in his last home and road starts — Teheran allowed only two runs and eight hits in seven innings for a win against the surging Phillies at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. Meanwhile, in his most-recent home start July 22 against the  Dodgers, he was good – seven hits, three runs in seven innings, with 11 strikeouts – but took the loss in a 3-1 decision.

Before that loss to the Dodgers two weeks ago, Teheran had been 5-0 with a 2.18 ERA and .195 opponents’ average in nine home starts. The Braves scored a whopping 28 runs while he was in the game in his first four home starts, and scored four runs while he was in the game in his next two home starts. But in his past four starts at Turner Field, the Braves have scored 1, 2, 2 and 1 runs while he was in the game. Still better run support than they provide Shelby Miller, but not nearly what it was for most of the first half of the season for Teheran, who pitched with big leads in some games.

For the season, Teheran has the NL’s fifth-best offensive support at 5.35 runs per nine innings pitched,  while Miller has the majors’ worst run support at 2.64 runs per nine innings pitched.

Against the Marlins, Teheran is 5-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 10 starts, including 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts this season — this despite allowing 17 hits in 11 2/3 innings of those two games, both in Miami.

Against Teheran, old friend Martin Prado is 5-for-13, Marcell Ozuna is 9-for-24 with a homer, Dee Gordon is 5-for-14 and Christian Yelich is 6-for-20. Teheran won’t face the  injured Giancarlo Stanton, who’s 4-for-27 with two homers and nine strikeouts against him.

• Dog days of summer matchup: The Braves are 7-18 with a .239 batting average, 4.97 ERA and 76 runs scored in their past 25 games. Meanwhile, the Marlins are 8-20 with a .245 BA, 3.64 ERA and 93 runs scored in their past 28 games.

  • Streaking thirtysomethings: Braves veterans Nick Markakis and A.J. Pierzynski both are working on double-digit hitting streaks (and to me, that’s when a hitting streak generally becomes worth mentioning, when it reaches 10 games). Markakis has 19 hits and seven RBIs during a 13-game hitting streak, and in his past 16 games the veteran right fielder has hit .338 (23-for-68) with seven extra-base hits (two homers), 10 RBIs, a .361 OBP and .515 slugging percentage.

Pierzynski, playing better and more frequently than a 38-year-old catcher is supposed to be able to play, is 19-for-43 (.442) during an 11-game hitting streak, and in his past 45 games he’s hit a robust .331 (55-for-166) with 17 extra-base hits (four homers), a .366 OBP and .488 slugging percentage.

• Let’s close with this great Buck Owens tune, the version he did with Dwight Yoakam. (Yoakam will be play in Atlanta on Sept. 11, by the way).

“STREETS OF BAKERSFIELD” by Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam

Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens

Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens

I came here looking for something
I couldn’t find anywhere else
Hey, I’m not trying to be nobody
I just want a chance to be myself
I’ve spent a thousand miles a-thumbin’
Yes, I’ve worn blisters on my heels
Trying to find me something better
Here on the streets of Bakersfield

Hey, you don’t know me, but you don’t like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Spent sometime in San Francisco
I spent a night there in the can
They threw this drunk man in my jail cell
I took fifteen dollars from that man
Left him my watch and my old house key
Don’t want folks thinkin’ that I’d steal
Then I thanked him as I was leaving
And I headed out for Bakersfield

Hey, you don’t know me, but you don’t like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Hey, you don’t know me, but you don’t like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

How many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

 

 

 


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