Atlanta Braves Blog

The Atlanta Braves blog by David O'Brien, baseball writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Teheran aims for 1st win in L.A., then Braves face Kershaw

  LOS ANGELES – While we’d been looking forward to the originally scheduled aces matchup of Julio Teheran vs. the mighty Clayton Kershaw in tonight’s series opener at Dodger Stadium, the rotation shuffling done by the Dodgers a couple of days ago definitely increases the likelihood of a Teheran win.

And even if you think wins are meaningless – tell that to the pitcher not getting them – you’ve still got to feel bad for a guy who has just a 1-5 record in 11 starts despite a 2.77 ERA and 1.8. Consider this: All 20 pitchers with higher WAR before Friday had at least three wins, and 18 had five or more wins.

Tonight, instead of facing the ridiculously good Kershaw, Teheran will face righty Kenta Maeda (4-3, 3.10), whose original Thursday start was moved back a day due to swelling in his pitching hand after he was hit by a line drive in his last start.

That meant pushing back Kershaw to Saturday, where he’ll take the spot of ex-Brave Alex Wood, who went on the DL this week with elbow soreness. Kershaw will face Mike Foltynewicz, who’ll need to continue his  strong recent performance to give the Braves a chance.

Matt Wisler faces lefty Scott “Mama, there ain’t no denying” Kazmir in Sunday’s series finale.

As for Teheran, he was was 1-2 with a microscopic 0.89 ERA and .174 opponents’ average in a span of six starts before giving up three runs five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings of a loss against the Marlins on Sunday, his first mediocre start in more than a month.

Before that game, the last time he’d given up more than one earned run was April 20 against these Dodgers, when he allowed six hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings. Teheran lasted at least seven innings in six of his next seven starts before the early exit Sunday against Miami.


Teheran is 1-1 with a 0.42 ERA and .151 opponents’ average in his past three road starts. However, he’s 0-2 with a 7.30 ERA in two starts at Dodger Stadium, where he’s given up 15 hits, 10 runs and six walks in 12 1/3 innings. That’s his worst ERA at any ballpark where he’s made multiple starts.

He’s 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA in five overall starts against the Dodgers.

Those numbers against the Dodgers and at Dodger Stadium are regular-season only and don’t include  his 2013 division-series loss at L.A., when he gave up six runs in 2 2/3 innings. Add that game to his totals and it’s 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA in six starts vs. the Dodgers including 0-3 with a 9.60 ERA in three in L.A.

The good news: It's been hot and muggy the past couple of days in L.A., actually closer to Atlanta weather than what we usually get when playing out here. And so, the grip problems that Teheran has had sometimes in cool, dry weather on the West Coast shouldn't be a factor whatsoever tonight.


Dude he’s facing: Kenta Maeda is in his first season with the Dodgers after eight seasons in his native Japan’s professional league. He was a 15-game winner three times in the past six seasons for Hiroshima, each time in fewer than 30 starts.

He was 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA in eight seasons in Japan. Frankly, those statistics mean little to me as I’ve never been comfortable comparing Japanese league statistics with the majors and feeling like I can accurately equate a pitching or hitting stat over there to a comparable here in the big leagues. Call it my Kenshin Kawakami hangover.

What I do know is this: Maeda has been solid as a 28-year-old MLB rookie, posting a 3.00 ERA and 1.053 WHIP in 10 starts, allowing 43 hits and 17 walks with 51 strikeouts in 57 innings. By the way, that’s a lower WHIP than he had in two of his seven full seasons in Japan.

 That Man, Kershaw: We’re seeing dominance on a level we’ve seldom seen in recent decades, folks. Consider Kershaw’s past 34 starts since the beginning of June – 20-5 with 1.49 ERA and .172 opponents’ average, with 323 strikeouts and 31 walks in 254 innings. To repeat, that’s 323 strikeouts and 31 walks.

In his career against the Braves, Kershaw is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in seven starts, with 64 strikeouts and 11 walks in 53 1/3 innings.

• Etc.

The Braves split the last six games of their just-completed homestand despite batting .148 and totaling 20 runs in those six games, with seven or fewer hits in each….

After being swept in four games at Washington in the first road series of the season, the Braves are 10-10 in their past 20 road games…

The Dodgers are 7-8 with 3.33 ERA in their past 15 games, with a .215 batting average and 60 runs scored….

In 17 regular-season games against the Braves, Yasiel Puig is 22-for-63 (.349) with four homers, nine RBIs and a .619 slugging percentage….

I'll close with this tune from the extraordinary Matthew Houck, who goes by Phosphorescent, from his splended 2010 album, "Here's to Taking It Easy."

"LOS ANGELES" by Phosphorescent

The road is alive

And everybody's all here

I'm closing my eyes

Till the colours appear

Oh me oh my

Ain't it funny up here

To stand in the light

Said I ain't came to Los Angeles just to die

Are you getting a lot of attention now

Are you bleeding in every direction now

Are they covering you up with affection now

Are they giving you a lot of attention now

They told me my eyes

Would never be clearer

To hold on to mine

Make good money out here

They told me those lies

Just a grinning from ear to ear

They showed me a lie

They said "here is our offer, ain't it fine"

Are you getting a lot of attention now

Are you bleeding in every direction now

Are they covering you up with affection now

Are you getting a lot of attention now

The road is alive

With the trouble and fear

Frozen and blind

That's how they couple out here

And oh me oh my

They call me coloured up here

I looked in their eyes

Said I ain't came to Los Angeles, baby, just to die

Are you getting a lot of attention now

Are you bleeding in every direction ain't you now

Are they covering you up with affection ain't they now

Are you getting a lot of attention ain't you now


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About the Author

David O'Brien has covered the Atlanta Braves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2002.