Shutup Philly: Julio Teheran threw the first shutout and first complete game of his career. It was fun to watch and it’s a pretty line: 9IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 4SO. It was the first complete game shutout for Atlanta since Kris Medlen shutout the Bucs on 8/16/12. It was the Braves first 1-0 complete game shutout for the Braves in 11 years, when Russ Ortiz shutout the Fish on 9/16/03.
This was the Braves second 1-0 win this season, the first one coming in the final game against Milwaukee in the opening series of the year. Atlanta only had one 1-0 win last season, and that game was started by Kris Medlen on 9/27/13. That game was also the last time any pitcher in baseball had struck out 13 batters in a game in lost; the losing pitcher in that game was the same as the losing pitcher in last night’s game… Cliff Lee. Guy just doesn’t know how to win.
Julio Teheran became first visiting pitcher to hurl a shutout – no matter number of hits allowed – at Citizens Bank Park.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) April 17, 2014
A new weapon for JT? Did Julio Teheran discover a new use for an old pitch in last night’s win? In last night’s shutout, Teheran threw his two-seam sinking fastball more than any other pitch. He also thew that pitch more than he had in any other start in his Major League career. Of his 115 total pitches he threw last night 49 were sinkers, that’s 15 more sinkers than he had ever thrown in a game. He generally keeps his rate of sinkers thrown between 15 and 25 percent of his total pitches in a game, last night his sinker accounted for 42 percent of his total pitches. The pitch he cut back on was his four-seam fastball, which he threw less than he had in any previous start in his career. We’ll have to wait and see if he has truly discovered something new with that pitch. He developed his two-seamer while pitching in the Dominican Winter League prior to the 2013 season.
Also location: Teheran also did a good job of commanding the entire strike zone and beyond. You can see from the heat map of his pitches below against left-handed batters last night (via ESPN) that he was able to keep the ball on the lower outside part of the plate. His two-seamer has a natural sink and moves away from left-handers. With the Phillies using 5 left-handed batters last night, they might have played right into what Julio wanted to do.
There’s no K in Andrelton: The Simba strikeout watch continues. Despite the team striking out 13 times last night (including the first time since 5/12/12 that Jason Heyward has struck out 4 times in a game), Andrelton Simmons did not strike out, and has not struck out yet this season in 45 at-bats.
There’s no BB in Gattis: The Evan Gattis walk watch continues. El Oso Blanco has not walked yet this season, though with the way he’s swinging it the past few games I don’t want him to be patient. Just 5 days ago on April 11th, Gattis was hitting a paltry .208 with just 1 home run and 2 RBI–there were some who were concerned. Three games later he’s hitting .378, thanks to going 9-13 with 3 home runs. He’s also hit safely in 8 of the 9 games he’s started.
Meanwhile, the minor league Braves…
Terdo goes deep, Mejia stays hot: Gwinnett won. Joey Terdoslavich hit his first home run of the year and collected 2 hits for the second straight game, but that doesn’t come close to the kind of hot Ernesto Mejia is right now. He went 3-4, his 5th multi-hit game in a row. Hector Daniel Rodriguez has put together nothing but good starts this season, and last night was no different: 5IP, 5H, 1R, 1BB, 6SO. Reliever Juan Jaime did what he’s done a lot this year, pitch a scoreless inning with a walk and 2 strikeouts–third time in five games he’s done exactly that.
Shutout for Sip: Mississippi won. Williams Perez had yet another terrific start: 5.2IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 5SO. Perez has more of a Ray King physique than the typical pitcher’s physique, but he’s a sinkerballer with excellent control. I’m going to keep a closer eye on him this season. He could slip into pitchability prospect territory. Relievers Ryne Harper, James Hoyt, and Shae Simmons preserved the shutout, though Simmons loaded the bases in the ninth on a hit and 2 walks before finally picking up his 4th save of the season. Those were the first 2 walks of the year for Simmons.
Hillcats split: Lynchburg lost then won. Wes Parson had a rough time of it in game one, though all the damage came in his final inning: 5.1IP, 5H, 4R, 2BB, 7SO. Eric Pfisterer had yet another rough outing in relief: 1.2IP, 3H, 3R, 1BB, 1SO, 1HBP. Greg Ross got the start in game two, and made it a great one: 5IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 6SO. The hitting was suspect in both games, with only 9 total hits for the Cats.
Comeback and a walk-off: Rome won. Starting pitcher Carlos Salazar had his best start yet, and has gotten better each time out: 5IP, 5H, 2R, 1BB, 3SO, 1HBP. Rome came back to tie the game in the 9th on a double by Blake Brown (1-3, BB, K, SB), then in the 11th they got a walk-off single from Daniel Carroll, in his first game of the year after being called up recently.