Julio Teheran, who will start the Braves’ regular-season opener next week, got his final Grapefruit League tune-up Friday night. He started the Braves’ exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers and allowed seven hits and two runs in five-plus innings of work.
As he did so many times last season, Teheran struggled in the first inning, allowing two off-the-wall doubles, a walk and two runs.
“I was trying to find myself,” Teheran said of Friday’s first-inning difficulty. “My fastball was kind of missing. But it was good that I got to work, got to find myself. … At the end, my fastball was better.”
Down 2-0 four batters into the game, Teheran struck out the last two batters of the first inning and held the Tigers scoreless over the next four innings. Still, he needed 94 pitches (58 strikes) to get through the inefficient five-inning outing.
Last season, Teheran had a 6.97 ERA in the opening inning, allowing 26 hits, 25 walks and 24 runs in the first inning of his 31 starts.
After his latest first-inning difficulties Friday, Teheran struggled to explain the overall trend.
“I don’t believe in anything about that,” he said. “Obviously, you can see it, but it’s part of the game.”
Six of the seven runs Teheran has allowed in Grapefruit League play this spring have come in the first inning.
The Braves won Friday’s game 4-3, with reliever Wes Parsons closing out the night with another impressive outing. He allowed two hits and no runs and struck out five in 2-1/3 innings, stretching his spring-long scoreless streak to 13-1/3 innings.
Teheran’s next opportunity will come in the Braves’ regular-season opener Thursday in Philadelphia. He’ll start his franchise-record-tying sixth consecutive opening-day game.
“To have the opportunity to start for six opening days is a great honor,” Teheran said. “I’m proud of myself. I’m just focusing on the regular season overall. The opening day is one day, but I’m focused on overall. I want to do better, want to get my team to go all the way to the World Series.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.