Major League Baseball

Braves’ Teheran looks to cool Nationals

BRAVES (62-45) AT NATIONALS (57-49)
7:05 p.m. ET; MASN, FSSE, MLB.TV

A very familiar Atlanta Braves veteran will face a younger pitcher on Tuesday who is filling in for the Washington Nationals’ ace.

Julio Teheran (5-7, 3.42 ERA) of the Braves will oppose fellow right-hander Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.40) of the Nationals in the second game of the series Tuesday in Washington.

Teheran has made at least one start against Washington in every season since 2013. He is 6-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 22 starts against the Nationals, last beating them in 2017, when he went 3-1 vs. Washington that season.

In his latest start on Wednesday against the Royals, the right-hander went six innings and gave up a pair of unearned runs with four hits and two walks and six strikeouts. However, he still was saddled with the loss.

The Nationals were hoping that three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer could start Tuesday, but that won’t happen.

Washington put its ace on the 10-day injured list Monday due to a mid-rhomboid strain and called up Fedde from Double-A Harrisburg to start against the Braves. Fedde has pitched in 13 games this year for Washington, including eight starts. He has never faced Atlanta in his career.

Scherzer, the June pitcher of the month in the National League, skipped the All-Star Game in Cleveland while dealing with back issues.

Now he is missing perhaps the biggest series of the year against the first-place Braves.

“He is not a happy camper,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of Scherzer. “He wants to be out there competing.”

Scherzer, who has pitched just twice in July, is eligible to return Aug. 5, though that is not the timetable for his return, according to Martinez.

Scherzer (9-5, 2.41 ERA) began complaining of back problems after his start on June 30 at Detroit, when he struck out 14 and gave up just one run in eight innings.

His following start was at home on July 6 against Kansas City, when he allowed just four hits and no runs in seven innings. Scherzer struck out 11 and walked one. But he went on the IL on July 13 (retroactive to July 10) with a mid-back strain, then returned on Thursday to pitch five innings while allowing three runs against the Colorado Rockies.

“We just want him to be 100 percent,” Martinez said. “We want him to build up strength first. Hopefully, he will be back as soon as possible.”

Washington hitters on the 40-man roster are 51-for-201 (.254) with four homers and an OPS of just .642 against Teheran. That includes third baseman Anthony Rendon, who is 14-for-43 (.326) and Howie Kendrick is 6-for-18 (.333).

In the first game of the series Monday, Patrick Corbin got the win as he allowed two runs in six innings and Anthony Rendon hit a grand slam in the last of the sixth to lead Washington to a 6-3 victory.

Rendon, who has hit safely in 17 of his past 19 games, has 23 homers and 80 RBI this season. He recorded his 500th career RBI in the victory.

“His hands are so quick,” Martinez said of Rendon. “He puts himself in a situation to hit. That was exciting. It was a wow moment.”

Even though Braves reliever Chad Sobotka gave up the game-changing grand slam three batters after replacing starter Dallas Keuchel, Atlanta catcher Tyler Flowers isn’t down on the team’s bullpen.

“I feel like they’ve done pretty well honestly,” Flowers said of the relievers, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I definitely feel good about whoever comes out the door there. Heck, I’d take my chances with Sobotka there again (against Rendon) and I’d take my chances with him throwing a heater there again. Just wasn’t supposed to go our way.”

–Field Level Media

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