WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Julio Teheran won his three starts against the Nationals in Washington last season, going seven innings each time while giving up just two total runs and 17 hits.
In his one home start against the Nationals, however, the Atlanta Braves right-hander gave up seven runs in four innings in a defeat that started a personal nine-game losing streak at SunTrust Park.
Teheran makes his second home start Tuesday night when the Braves continue a three-game series with the Nationals.
Teheran finished the first season at Atlanta's new ballpark 3-10 with a 5.86 ERA in contrast to going 8-3 with a 3.14 ERA on the road.
"Last year was the year I didn't want to have," he said prior to making his Atlanta-record fifth consecutive opening day start on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Thanks to a comeback that concluded with Nick Markakis' walk-off three-run homer, the Braves saved Teheran from another home loss, but he was charged with four runs over 5 2/3 innings.
The four runs are just one less than Teheran had given up in his four previous starts on opening day and the native of Colombia will try to show that the ballpark hasn't gotten to him while opposing Washington right-hander A.J. Cole.
"The mound. The ballpark," Teheran said. "I don't need that stuff to stick in my head. I just need to do my job."
The nine straight home losses a season ago was an Atlanta record and Teheran finished with the highest ERA (4.49) of his first five full seasons.
Teheran had a good spring training, though, after finetuning some things over the winter, going 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA in six Grapefruit League games.
Teheran, who is 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 career starts against the Nationals, faces a Washington team that is 4-0 for the first time in team history after Bryce Harper hit a three-run homer in an 8-1 win on Monday in the series opener.
Cole, who won the fifth spot in the Nationals rotation, had a relief appearance against the Braves last season after making his major league debut at Atlanta in a 2015 start.
Neither outing went well, as attested by Cole's 15.75 ERA against the Braves.
Cole gave up nine runs (five earned) while lasting just two innings in his debut, which ended in a 13-12 comeback victory for the Nationals.
Cole, 26, needs a drastically better outing in Atlanta this time as he tries to hold his rotation spot.
The Nationals signed Jeremy Hellickson to a minor league contract late in spring training and the veteran right-hander could be stretched out enough for a start by mid-April.
Cole was 3-5 with a 3.81 ERA in eight starts and three relief appearances for the Nationals last season. He is 4-7 with a 4.52 ERA in 17 career starts and five games out of the bullpen.
"He had a good camp, good spring training," first-year Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "I liked the way he threw all spring, so hopefully he continues that."
The Braves scored 27 runs in taking two of three games from the Philadelphia Phillies but were held to four hits over seven innings by Tanner Roark in the series opener and the Nationals beat the Braves for the 13th time in the last 19 meetings in Atlanta.