(Staff writer Carroll Rogers is filling in for David O’Brien this series.)
PHILADELPHIA – First off my apologies for the late “focal blog” post today. I blame Peter Moylan and Julio Teheran and a host of pretty big news on the Braves beat today…..Where to begin.
Let me just say that when manager Fredi Gonzalez told us in the visiting dugout this afternoon that Julio Teheran would be starting tomorrow, he did it so smoothly, and with the perfect segue from Braves assistant PR man Jim Misudek, who had just told us that the Phillies announced Kyle Kendrick was starting Saturday instead of Roy Oswalt….Gonzalez goes “And starting for us Saturday will be Julio Teheran.”
Mine wasn’t the only double-take in the dugout. At least I don’t think. My eyes were too busy popping out of my head than looking around.
Surprise, surprise, surprise.
No spot start from Mike Minor, who pitched Thursday for Gwinnett, no three days’ rest Sunday from Tim Hudson. We get our first taste of Teheran tomorrow against the Phillies and we haven’t even begun the series yet, which figures to be filled with intrigue as always.
The Braves just came off the field for bp, and it won’t be long before Cliff Lee is warming up for the Phillies. He takes on Derek Lowe tonight in the opener. The way it had stacked up, the pitcher with the highest ERA of the six scheduled starters in this series was Lowe, at 3.72. That’s just the kind of thing you expect when these two teams – and their two staffs – line up.
Now we throw Teheran in the mix.
(We will also see Kendrick because Oswalt is having problems with his lower back. He’d apparently been having problems before he left the team a week ago to tend to his tornado-ravaged home in Mississippi. Kendrick is no slouch either, especially against the Braves. He’s 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA in 11 games, including nine starts against Atlanta.)
So where were we? Teheran. He’s been dominant in Gwinnett, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts. He’s allowed one or no earned runs in four of his five starts. He has eight walks to 25 strikeouts and a .231 opponents’ batting average.
“Give the kid a chance,” Gonzalez said. “He’s been pitching good. Why not?”
Through a contact at Baseball America, who spoke with a scout today about Teheran, I can pass along this scouting report. He rated Teheran with a plus fastball and plus changeup. If there’s any part of Teheran’s repertoire he thinks is vulnerable it’s his breaking ball, which the scout called inconsistent.
But I say when your fastball is mid-90s and you’ve got a plus-changeup, and the Phillies lineup has never seen you before, why not expect good things tomorrow?
I just can’t help but think back to that night not so long ago in Gwinnett when Teheran was sitting between Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell, when they were watching Jair Jurrjens pitch in a rehab game. And McDowell leaned over and told Teheran he better get a sport coat.
Gonzalez had to explain that the Braves wear dress clothes to travel, and it meant McDowell thought Teheran would be in the big leagues before long. Somewhere in Rochester, NY Teheran was scrambling to find a men’s clothing store. Or hey, downtown Philly has got a few.
More on Peter Moylan
And from the other big news of the day, Moylan. The Aussie character and key cog on the Braves bullpen is waiting on one final opinion but at this point is resigned to the fact that he’s headed for surgery on his lower back.
He’s going to to see Dr. Robert Watkins in LA on Monday for a second opinion (same guy who did Troy Aikman’s back in 1993 and got him back on the field in three months for the season-opener against the Redskins.) He also operated on Randy Johnson. But in a nutshell, all signs say Moylan is heading for surgery and the quicker, he says, the better.
Moylan is not prepared to put a timetable on this just yet, not until he talks to Watkins, but your typical herniated disc surgeries require 12 months recovery.
Moylan has had surgery on this area of his spine before, so it could mean he’d need more time to recover. Or Watkins could recommend a different surgical route. It’s fair to say though, that Moylan is hopeful to be back this season. The way he put it was he was “very encouraged” by what he heard from a surgeon in Atlanta on Thursday.
As for whether the Braves will be prompted to go outside the organization to look for help for their bullpen in the meantime, I think the answer is no, at least not yet.
“We get together and always talk about what’s around the league to improve,” said Gonzalez of GM Frank Wren and him. “But that specific subject we have not addressed.”
In other injury news, I also learned this afternoon that Gwinnett reliever Stephen Marek is headed for “Tommy John” surgery. Check out that story on our Braves page for more details…
Tom Glavine on Brandon Beachy
If you, like me, were watching the Braves-Brewers broadcast Thursday night, did this one jump out at you? When Tom Glavine told broadcast partner Joe Simpson (and the viewing audience) that he’d been teaching his young sons Brandon Beachy’s motion?
That’s pretty nice praise from a 300-game winner and future Hall-of-Famer to want his own sons mimicking Beachy. Beachy was living up to the compliment with another dominant performance – one unearned run in six innings of a no-decision against Milwaukee.
“I love his delivery,” Glavine said. “No moving parts. So simple.”
It’s actually going to be wild to watch a Braves-Phillies series without Beachy pitching. By my count, Beachy has faced the Phillies each of the last three times these two teams have matched up – September, October and April.
Surely, a lot of minds will go back to Beachy’s debut against the Phillies last year when Teheran debuts tomorrow. The one thing Teheran has on Beachy, at least in terms of the circumstances, is he’s had a full day to prepare (Beachy didn’t know Jurrjens couldn’t go for sure until about 3 p.m. the day of his start) and it’s not September of a pennant race. But still…..
Braves Lineup (Just a day off for Heyward)
1. Prado LF
2. Gonzalez SS
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Uggla 2B
6. Freeman 1B
7. Mather RF
8. McLouth CF
9. Lowe P
1. Rollins SS
2. Victorino CF
3. Polanco 3B
4. Howard 1B
5. Francisco RF
6. Ibanez LF
7. Orr 2B
8. Schneider C
9. Lee P