(Julio Teheran photo courtesy Russell Lansford/USA TODAY Sports)
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When and Where: Sunday, Sept. 1, SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Ga., 5:10 p.m. EDT.
Julio Teheran faces a formidable challenge in ending a personal five-game losing streak in interleague play Sunday when he leads the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves into their series finale with the Chicago White Sox versus staff ace Lucas Giolito.
Giolito looks to be ChiSox’s first 15-game winner in three years
Giolito (14-7, 3.20 ERA), who is enjoying a breakthrough season, is looking to become the fifth 15-game winner in the American League and first for the White Sox since Chris Sale racked up 17 in 2016.
Giolito reached the 200-strikeout milestone in his last start versus Minnesota on Tuesday night with nine Ks in six innings, bit the two solo homers he gave up were enough to consign him to a 3-1 defeat to the Twins.
The right-hander has credited his improvements this season to working out with Braves pitcher and high school teammate Max Fried in the offseason, with the 25-year-old making adjustments to his arm slot and delivery length.
“I did towel drills, dry drills and gym work with wearing [the core velocity belt] sometimes,” Giolito said. “It kind of gets your hips and legs in the position you want it to be.
“The biggest adjustment and one that everyone can see is the arm action,” he added. “I used to be really long, and it was behind my back. Now it’s short and direct, kind of like an infielder.”
Giolito has been a formidable opponent on the road, going 9-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 13 starts and winning the last three after tossing a three-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts at Minnesota on Aug. 21. That success, though, has not translated to facing National League teams as the righty is 0-2 with a 7.63 ERA in three starts — suffering both losses to the crosstown rival Cubs.
Teheran out to end woes versus AL foes
Teheran (8-8, 3.39) carries a 13-inning shutout streak into this game but had nothing to show for six scoreless frames of three-hit ball in Monday’s rescheduled game at Coors Field the Braves eventually lost 3-1.
“We knew it was gonna be a tough one,” Teheran told the club’s official website after the loss snapped Atlanta’s eight-game winning streak. “Coming here, coming from back east, playing a day game, was tough. I just came in here and just wanted to do my part.”
Teheran, though, has struggled to do that against the junior circuit throughout his career with the Braves, entering this game 6-14 with a 5.10 ERA in 27 starts against AL teams. The right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.15 ERA in his last eight interleague starts since beating Tampa Bay on May 9, 2018, and the Braves have gone 2-6 in those games.
He lost his lone matchup against the White Sox in 2016, getting tagged for five runs and nine hits in in six innings of a 5-4 defeat. Teheran is 4-5 with a 4.81 ERA in 14 home starts versus AL foes and 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in the last five.
The Braves are:
- 21-6 in Teheran’s last 27 Sunday starts.
- 38-14 in their last 52 Sunday games.
- 7-3 in Teheran’s last 10 home starts vs. sub-.500 teams.
The White Sox are:
- 0-4 in Giolito’s last four interleague starts.
- 7-24 in their last 31 interleague road games.
- 4-11 in their last 15 during game 3 of a series.
Braves ML (-150)
The expectation is for Teheran to buck his trend of struggles versus AL opponents, but this is also about Giolito continuing to struggle against the better NL teams. This will be his fourth above-.500 NL opponent in as many starts this year, and with the Braves pounding them in the first two games of this set, Giolito may be hard-pressed to slow down that momentum.
UNDER 9 runs (-115)
The under has been riding with Giolito, going 4-0 in his last four Sunday starts, 6-0 in the last six during game three of a series and 10-3-1 on the road in his last 14 outings versus above-.500 teams.
The under is also currently on a six-game run when the Braves face pitchers with a sub-1.15 WHIP and 5-2-1 in Atlanta’s last eight Sunday games. It is also 5-2 when Teheran pitches on five days of rest and 10-4-1 in the Braves’ last 15 home games vs. sub-.500 teams
UNDER 4.5 runs (-131)
The hope is Teheran blows hot in this case — the Braves have split the five-inning over/under in his nine starts since the All-Star break (4-4-1) since the under is 7-2 in Giolito’s nine outings since the Mid-Summer classic. The two are hoping to buck a trend in which the over has hit in Atlanta’s last three games and Chicago’s last four.
Braves’ Freeman to have 3+ total bases
Freeman has fared well in interleague play, hitting .350 (21 for 60) with five homers and nine extra-base hits overall. The Braves slugger has recorded seven multihit games versus AL teams and is worth a flyer here given how the rest of his teammates have hit the ball in the first two games of this series.
Braves -0.5 runs first 5 innings (+105)
A hunch that Teheran delivers another solid outing early while Giolito’s struggles against the better teams in the National League continue. The Braves have led after five innings in their last five home games, and the White Sox have trailed in their last five overall.
Teheran has blown hot and cold at times, but also has held teams off the scoreboard in the first five frames in five of his last eight starts.
Braves OVER 1 run first 3 innings (-140)
The entire White Sox rotation gave up two or more runs in their last turn, part of a run in which they have yielded at least two runs in nine of their last 13 road games. Atlanta has also racked up 16 runs in the first three frames of its last three games and scored at least one run in eight of its last 11 at SunTrust Park.