video thumbnail

WSH@ATL: Teheran strikes out five over 5 1/3 frames

It turns out Saturday's unexpected day off -- a result of a rainout -- may have been all the Braves needed to snap out of a recent funk.

The Braves, who had lost three straight games and seven of nine prior to the postponement, enter Thursday night's series opener against the Giants having won three of their past four. The only remaining question stemming from the rainout will be whether it derails the recent turnaround for starter Julio Teheran.

Teheran, skipped in the rotation after the rainout, will take the mound for the first time since April 29 on Thursday at AT&T Park. After allowing at least four earned runs in each of his first three starts, the right-hander has seemingly turned a corner, conceding two or fewer earned runs in each of his past two outings.

Though all of Teheran's starts this season have come on normal rest, the 22-year-old will look to build off his recent strong performances despite the nine days of prep this time around.

As for the Giants, they will call on righty Ryan Vogelsong, who hasn't been nearly as fortunate as Teheran in his own quest to put early-season struggles behind him. Vogelsong takes the hill Thursday carrying a 7.20 ERA to go along with a 1-2 record.

The 35-year-old was tagged for a season-high seven runs in just 4 2/3 innings Saturday against the Dodgers, marking his shortest outing of the season. He's allowed at least four runs in all but one of his six starts.

"It's a battle," Vogelsong said. "Every pitch is like I'm battling myself."

Vogelsong's outings have epitomized the recent struggles of San Francisco's rotation. Even with Barry Zito's solid outing in Wednesday's series finale against the Phillies, Giants starters have turned in just three quality starts in the club's past 11 games. Though the Giants are 7-4 in those contests, their starting pitchers earned just one of the wins.

"It comes down to consistency with the pitching, and we haven't quite been as consistent as we normally are," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We haven't hit our stride, I think, with the pitching yet. That's the key for us."

Braves: Struggling Kimbrel eyes save No. 100
The next time closer Craig Kimbrel notches a save, he will become the second-youngest pitcher in Major League history to reach the 100-save plateau.

Kimbrel, who turns 25 on May 28, is aiming to join Francisco Rodriguez as the only two pitchers to reach that mark before their 25th birthday.

But for now, the right-hander is focused on pitching his way through some recent struggles. Kimbrel, who recorded his 99th career save Monday, came within one out of reaching the century mark Tuesday before blowing his third save in his past five attempts, allowing back-to-back homers against the Reds.

"It is what it is," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "At the end of the year, [Kimbrel's] going to have 40-something saves and five blown saves or four blown saves. It just so happens he's getting them right here in a little bunch. No worries."

Giants: Bochy taking cautious approach with Pagan
Center fielder Angel Pagan sat out Wednesday's series finale against the Phillies with a mild strain of his right groin, though Bochy said the move was strictly precautionary.

Pagan, officially diagnosed with a strained adductor muscle after a Wednesday morning MRI, could be back in the lineup as soon as Thursday for the series opener against the Braves.

"We feel like this is going to go away," Bochy said. "He's going to be fine."

Pagan, who also missed two games last weekend with a strained right hamstring, has been hampered by the groin injury only when he swings the bat, according to Bochy. The outfielder went 0-for-3 on Tuesday before sitting out Wednesday's contest and is hitting .268 on the season.

Worth noting
• Freddie Freeman is 3-for-7 with a pair of home runs in his career against Vogelsong. Comments