Teheran gains comfort -- and not just with park

After another solid home start, Braves' ace discusses using changeup more, positioning

Teheran gains comfort -- and not just with park

ATLANTA -- Another home start, another successful outing for Julio Teheran, who held the Marlins to just three runs over 6 2/3 innings while keeping pace with Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in a 6-3 Braves win Friday night at Turner Field.

"It was an exciting game, you know, [Fernandez] is one of the best pitchers in this game," Teheran said. "I was just trying to do my job, and I think I did it really well."

And while the Marlins have scored the fewest runs in baseball this season, there was a lot for the right-handed Teheran to take from this game. Especially considering the success he saw against a lineup featuring five left-handed hitters -- including four straight to start the game.

Teheran's success can be attributed to two things in particular: a higher comfort level with his changeup, and moving to the first-base side of the rubber.

Entering Friday's game, lefties have hit .304 against Teheran this season. A large part of that comes from the fact that Teheran has struggled with his changeup. Before this start, Teheran threw the pitch just 6.5 percent of the time, according to Brooks Baseball.

"That's something that I've been working [on] to get the lefties out," Teheran said after the game. "Something that I was struggling at the beginning of the year."

But that didn't seem to be the case Friday night, when Teheran set down the first six lefties he faced during the game, and retired 12 of 15 in total. Fourteen of his 103 pitches were changeups (13.6 percent).

"Now I feel comfortable with it," Teheran said. "[I'm] trying to pitch inside, use all my pitches, and I feel like I've been doing really good with that."

And what's helped him go inside with better success goes back to the second point: moving to the first-base side of the rubber.

Teheran has moved back and forth throughout his career, and he tried going to the first-base side of the rubber in 2012 when he posted a 5.08 ERA in 131 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett. Teheran said then that he just couldn't get comfortable throwing from the glove side of the mound.

But now, apparently, he has. And his command is better because of it. Against the Marlins he threw strikes 63 percent of the time (65 strikes in 103 pitches).

"I thought that you guys didn't see that," Teheran said, laughing about the positioning. "I've been trying anything I can do just to see how I feel. But I feel better, I feel that my fastball I'm commanding a lot better now that I'm on the first-base side of the rubber. That's something that [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] and I have been working for.

"[I'm] trying to be consistent, and that's a good sign whenever you have two [good starts] in a row. I feel that's what I can do, and I need to do it. Let's see how I do my next start."

Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.