At around 7:35 PM ET or so tonight, the moment that the Braves have been looking forward to ever since the team suddenly (and almost randomly) announced that they were moving from the heart of Atlanta to Cobb County: The first pitch of a regular season game at SunTrust Park will be thrown by Julio Teheran, and a new era of BRaves baseball will officially be underway.
As far as opponents go, the Braves couldn’t have asked for a better team to face in their home opener. Granted, the Braves themselves aren’t exactly a fearsome group in their current state, but the threat of the San Diego Padres won’t be a severely imposing one for the Braves to handle this weekend. San Diego may be 5-5 and the Braves 2-6, but I still think that this could be a very decent opportunity for the Braves to pick up some ground after a grueling road trip.
The Padres will be sending Jhoulys Chacin to the mound for tonight’s game. This is also evidence that the Braves have absolutely improved their rotation from last season to this year, because while Chacin was considered a middle-of-the-rotation guy even for last year’s Braves squad, this year he ended up being the Opening Day starter for the Padres. With that being said, Chacin is coming off of a pretty good start against the Giants on this past Saturday (6.2 IP, 3 H, 5 K, 1 BB, 0 ER), so this shouldn’t be treated like a cakewalk or anything like that.
On the other hand, if Julio Teheran keeps on pitching like he has through two starts this season, then the Padres will have a very tough time crashing the Opening Night party for the Braves. Julio’s ERA is still at a pristine 0.00 after 13 innings, and his FIP is currently at 2.34. The fact that he hasn’t factored into the decision of either of the games he’s pitched so far this year is proof that you should not take the pitcher W/L stat seriously. With that in mind, it would be lovely if his teammates lifted him up should he deliver another positive start on the mound this evening.
As far as batters go, Freddie Freeman has three hits in 11 plate appearances against Jhoulys Chacin, with two of those three hits resulting in homers. He’s the only current Brave who has a dinger against Chacin. Interestingly enough, Emilio Bonifacio is 5-6 against Chacin, so that’ll be something to watch out for if the situation arises.
Either way, tonight should be fun. The Braves are finally playing a home game in their new ballpark, and this will hopefully be the backdrop of plenty of success in the future. If you’re going to the game, I hope you enjoy it and I also hope there’s a Braves victory to boot.
Game Date/Time: Friday, April 124h, 2017 at 7:35 PM ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: Braves Radio Network, 680 AM/93.7 FM