The Atlanta Braves are trying to avoid going winless on this eight-game road trip, and turning to Julio Teheran should at least give them a good chance.
After being dominated by the Seattle Mariners' ace, the Braves could use a strong outing from their All-Star right-hander as Teheran tries to earn them a split of this two-game set at Safeco Field.Atlanta (58-55) is second in the NL East, three games back of Washington. The Braves were just a half-game behind the Nationals prior to batting .229 with 15 runs during a seven-game slide, their longest on the road since dropping eight straight from April 23-May 4, 2010.They didn't generate much at the plate again in Tuesday's 4-2 loss at Seattle, as Felix Hernandez allowed one run and four hits with eight strikeouts in eight innings.Atlanta is hoping Teheran (10-7, 2.69 ERA) can do something similar in his first meeting with Seattle (58-54).Teheran leads the Braves in ERA, strikeouts (141) and WHIP (1.04) while tying Ervin Santana for the most wins. He held the Los Angeles Dodgers to two runs over eight innings Thursday while fanning nine, but came out on the losing end of a 2-1 pitchers' duel with Clayton Kershaw."I had my best and everything was working, but I made a couple of mistakes and they got two runs," Teheran said. "It was fun (pitching against Kershaw). I know it's not that easy to face him, but we had a real battle out there."Jason Heyward, who had two hits Tuesday, is 7 for 13 with two doubles and a triple in three games after missing four with a strained back. The right fielder is hitting .406 in his last 19 contests.Heyward is 5 for 13 in three meetings versus Seattle this year, but Atlanta has lost them all as the all-time series is tied 6-6.The Mariners, who trail Toronto by one game for the AL's second wild-card spot, have rotated wins and losses over the past nine games, totaling 25 runs in those five victories compared to three in the defeats.Chris Young (9-6, 3.19) is getting a second chance at reaching 10 victories for the first time since winning 11 in 2006 with San Diego.The right-hander, whose career has been plagued by injuries, allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 6-5 win at Cleveland on Thursday."He didn't have his best stuff," manager Lloyd McClendon told MLB's official website. "It wasn't coming out the greatest. But I'll tell you what, he's gutsy and he battled. He gave us everything he had, he just ran out of gas."Young might feel a bit more comfortable on the mound at Safeco. He's 6-3 with a 2.21 ERA in 11 starts there, and has held opponents to a .179 batting average -- the best of any AL starter at home.He's 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts against Atlanta since 2012.
Atlanta Braves hitters have hit .196 in at-bats to end in a pitch in the upper third of the zone or higher, the fifth-worst rate in the league; they are missing on 28.8 percent of their swings on pitches in that zone, the highest rate in baseball. No qualified pitcher has thrown a higher percentage of pitches in that zone this season than Chris Young (45.4 percent).