After a rash of injuries slowed the spring training progress of starting pitchers Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman, the Atlanta Braves are turning to Julio Teheran to start Opening Day 2019 in Philadelphia.
With the announcement that Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman would likely not be ready for the start of the 2019 season, the Atlanta Braves announced that Julio Teheran will make his franchise record-tying 6th consecutive Opening Day start.
The other pitcher holding this exclusive honor? Hall of Famer and 13-time 20 game winner Warren Spahn.
Following his 2018 All-Star campaign, Foltynewicz was the likely candidate to open the season as the Braves’ number one starter. After experiencing elbow soreness early in camp, the Braves have taken a cautious approach with his recovery.
Recent reports show that Folty has started throwing again by playing catch and participating in bullpen sessions. Assuming he requires a normal ramp-up program leading into the season, it is reasonable to speculate that he will not be ready for regular season action until mid-to-late April, at the earliest.
With Gausman on the shelf as well, and with the relative inexperience of fellow starter Sean Newcomb and the young prospects vying for the final spots in the rotation, Teheran was the clear choice for the opening day nod.
Although this decision was obvious to most, the news did not go announced without your typical fan backlash. Fairly or not, Teheran has been met with criticism throughout his career in Atlanta.
Coming up as a top prospect and being forced into several weak rotations as the club “Ace” probably has much to do with the consternation of the fan base. Coupled with the front office’s inability (by choice or not) to acquire a top-of-the-rotation starter this past offseason, the reaction to this news was predictable, yet extremely disappointing.
To the naysayers, it should be noted that Teheran has proven to be a reliable presence on the mound on opening day over the past 5 years. In honor of this, Let’s take a look at how he, and the Atlanta Braves, have fared for each of his opening day starts.