While he earned the win in his final start before the All-Star break, the Atlanta Braves’ Julio Teheran hasn’t been at his best of late.
He’s never had much difficulty with the Miami Marlins, though.
Teheran tries to remain unbeaten in seven starts against the Marlins as these NL East rivals open a four-game set Monday night at Turner Field.
The 23-year-old Teheran (9-6, 2.71 ERA) has emerged as one of the league’s top pitchers in his second full season. Aside from ERA, Teheran owns a 1.04 WHIP and .224 opponents’ batting average to rank among the NL’s top 10 in both categories.
However, Teheran wasn’t sharp in his last two starts. After yielding five runs and a career-worst 11 hits over 3 1-3 innings in an 8-3 road loss to the New York Mets on July 8, Teheran allowed four runs over seven innings last Sunday in a 10-7 road victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Teheran could resume his dominating ways against the Marlins, who haven’t been able to figure him out. The All-Star right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last five meetings with Miami.
Giancarlo Stanton has only two hits – one homer – in 15 at-bats against Teheran, and Casey McGehee and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are a combined 1 for 11. Returning home could also help Teheran, who is 3-0 with a 0.71 ERA in his last five starts in Atlanta.
The Braves (54-44) are seeking a fifth win in six games after beating Philadelphia 8-2 on Sunday. Chris Johnson stayed hot with a two-run homer and Tommy La Stella matched a season high with three RBIs.
Johnson is 9 for 20 with four homers and 10 RBIs over a five-game stretch.
The Marlins (45-52) had been outscored 39-13 during a six-game losing streak before edging San Francisco 3-2 on Sunday. McGehee went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer and Adeiny Hechavarria scored the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch in the seventh inning.
While McGehee is hitting .322 to rank among the NL leaders, Sunday’s homer was his first since May 10 and just his second this season.
"It’s a little weird," he said. "I would have thought maybe I would have run into a couple more. But it doesn’t bother me too much, and until the guys give me a hard time about it, I don’t really think about it."
The Marlins now give the ball to Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.99). The right-hander allowed three runs, two hits and four walks over 6 1-3 innings but didn’t receive a decision in last Saturday’s 5-4 road loss to the New York Mets.
"I’ve got to keep attacking hitters. A lot of times I give up runs because I put myself and the team in situations that allows them to capitalize on things," he said. "I expect more of myself. That’s why games like today are frustrating."
Koehler owns a 5.37 ERA on the road, significantly higher than his home mark of 2.75. He is 0-2 with a 4.24 ERA in four outings against the Braves since the start of last year.
Koehler can’t be happy to see Evan Gattis, who is 4 for 7 in their matchups. Gattis, sidelined since June 27 with a bulging disk in his back, has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and is starting.
The return of Gattis adds an important bat to the middle of the Braves’ lineup. Gattis is hitting .290 with 16 homers – one behind Justin Upton’s team-leading 17 – and 39 RBIs.
The Marlins, losers in four straight away from home, have dropped 14 of 20 in Atlanta.