Julio Teheran is down to his last five or six home starts of the season, so if he hopes to significantly improve his unsightly SunTrust Park statistics for 2017 then Tuesday against the Phillies would be a good time to snap his 10-start home winless streak and chip away at some other bad numbers.
Teheran is 1-7 with a 6.91 ERA and .868 opponents’ OPS in 11 starts at SunTrust Park, compared to 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA and .746 opponents’ OPS in 11 starts on the road. His only win came in the Braves’ home opener against the Padres. His home ERA is far and away the highest among major league starters and his opponents’ OPS at home is the 12th-highest.
“I’m getting better, I’m feeling better pitching here,” said Teheran, who has allowed five runs, nine hits and one homer in 11 innings over his past two home starts, after giving up 13 hits, 11 runs (10 earned) and three homers in 10 1/3 innings over the previous two. “My last couple of outings I’ve been OK. It hasn’t been like I wanted but it’s been better than it was before.
“It’s really important to finish strong, especially in the home games that we’ve got left. This is the park where I want to play hopefully the rest of my career, but you never know. I want to feel comfortable here and I’m getting better at it.”
In his most recent home start Wednesday against the Dodgers, Teheran gave up four hits, three runs and no walks in five innings and got no decision in a 5-3 Braves win, just the second Braves win in his past 10 home starts.
Since giving up two runs in six innings of the April 14 home-opener win against San Diego, Teheran is 0-7 with a 7.36 ERA and .287 opponents’ average in his past 10 home starts, allowing 14 homers and 20 walks with 36 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings, including four games with at least two homers allowed.
The home results have more than offset his solid road numbers to such a degree that Teheran is having a career-worst, the two-time former All-Star currently lugging a 7-9 record and 5.10 ERA with a 27 home runs allowed -- tied for the majors lead before Sunday -- in 125 1/3 innings, already matching the career-high 27 homers he allowed in 200 2/3 innings in 2015.
“I’ve been working. I’ve been working to get better,” he said. “I know how this game is, if you have a bad outing it doesn’t mean you’re going to be bad for the next one. You’ve got to have your mind strong and really work, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I know it’s been a really tough year so far, but I’m just competing and doing the best I can every time I go out there, doing the best I can to pitch good and do the best I can every time I go out there.”
While dealing with his own home-road disparity this season, Teheran has enjoyed watching the emergence of Mike Foltynewicz, who is having a breakout season after being slowed by injuries and mound-composure issues in the past couple of seasons.
Foltynewicz had a career-high 11 strikeouts with no walks in 6 1/3 innings in his career-high 10th win Saturday against the Marlins, improving to 10-2 with a 3.74 ERA in his past 16 starts. The Braves are 13-3 in those games.
“Like you say, he looks established, he looks more comfortable pitching,” Teheran said. “He’s got all his confidence and that’s always a battle. I feel happy the way he’s improving, he’s been working and he’s been through a lot of stuff, too. Now he’s getting everything together and starting to figure out what he’s got to do in the big leagues and how you get people out.”
The hitter-friendly environment of SunTrust Park has not been a problem for Foltynewicz, who’s 5-0 with a 2.43 ERA in his past seven home starts, all Braves wins.