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Game #144 Preview: Blue Jays @ Braves

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Julio Teheran
Julio Teheran
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays are in the state of Georgia for the next few days to take on the Atlanta Braves in a midweek series. The NL East squad sits at 56-88, which makes them the second-worst team in the entire league. Since the trade deadline, the Braves threw in the white flag and are 10-31 from August 1 onwards. An even more painful stat for Atlanta fans is that the team has only three wins since August 17, and two of those came against the league-worst Phillies. If there was ever a series that the Blue Jays could take too lightly, it would certainly be this one. Most Braves fans have already moved on to their Falcons who are 1-0 and heading straight to the Super Bowl!

Back in April, the teams met for three games in Toronto with the Braves taking two wins. Obviously the squads have changed a bit since then, considering Drew Hutchison and Daniel Norris were the two Jays starters in the losses. The Braves have the record they do mainly because of their pitching. Aside from Shelby Miller, who has been a stud, no other Braves starter has an ERA under 4.00 and only Miller and Julio Teheran have an ERA under 5.00.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, they will have to face Julio Teheran and Shelby Miller in the first two games of this series. Tonight, Mark Buehrle will take the hill against Teheran who will be looking to avoid the rare blowout that he's been prone to this year. The righty has pitched solidly this season, but every once in a while he allows a huge amount of runs which pushes up his ERA (currently sitting at 4.38) and makes him look worse than he is. The last instance of this came at the end of August when he allowed eight runs against the Yankees and the Braves lost 20-6.

He faced Toronto on April 17, allowing five runs in five innings thanks to four home runs allowed. With the new look Blue Jays roster even more power hungry, there's a solid chance that Teheran struggles again tonight.

The Colombian mainly throws a fastball and slider, but the curveball and changeup are also used a good amount. The slider is easily his best pitch and it's the weapon he uses to get most of his strikeouts. While his 2015 season is nowhere close to as good as his 2014 All-Star campaign, Teheran has been pretty good on a horrible Atlanta team.

You can see how his fastball has risen in usage this season, while his slider has slowly been thrown less:

Teheran

Hopeful Lineup

This lineup is going to be pretty ugly relative to the lineups that the Blue Jays were running out last week.

  1. Ben Revere LF
  2. Josh Donaldson 3B
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B
  5. Russell Martin C
  6. Ryan Goins SS
  7. Cliff Pennington 2B
  8. Kevin Pillar CF
  9. Mark Buehrle P

Bullpen Usage

After the war of attrition in New York, everyone has had a day or two to rest so it should be getting back to normal. It's likely that all of the high-leverage guys will be available tonight.

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Enjoy the game tonight, hopefully the Blue Jays don't play down to their competition.