On Monday, we saw the Braves go down in extra innings on opening day. After celebrating the 1997 team that opened Turner Field before the game, the Braves had a very 1990s era performance with solid starting pitching, a reasonable but not dominating performance by the bullpen, and a fairly anemic offense outside of their best hitters. The key plays were errors by Erick Aybar and Gordon Beckham that pulled Freeman off the bag at first base.
A few weeks ago, we laid out some metrics for Julio Teheran. Some keys we mentioned were keeping his BB/9 under 2.5, and a change-up with a lower batting average against (maybe closer to his ever-improving fastball). What did we see? His newly revamped change-up was used more than in year’s past, and it did not give up a hit. His fastball was at 91.5 mph, which continues his decline from previous years. His fastest pitch was just over 93 mph. He gave up 2 home runs, which continues a bad trend from last year, but both were solo home runs thanks to Julio continuing his amazing ability to pick off runners. He might be the best in the majors (he lead the majors with 5 pickoffs last year), which is amazing considering he is a right-hander. He gave up 3 walks in 6 innings, but as we mentioned that damage was limited.
A solid start for Freeman and Adonis Garcia, who both hit home runs. Overall, better than could probably be expected against the Nationals and defending Cy Young winner, but the 2-5 spots in the rotation will likely be more of a wild ride this season.