After enjoying a red-hot 17-7 start in 2014, the Braves cooled off significantly in a three-game series at Marlins Park as April turned to May. Miami swept Atlanta, outscoring the Braves 23-7 in the dominant showing.
But as Atlanta returns to South Florida, the Marlins will have to reckon with a guy who shut them down in a stellar start on April 21 at Turner Field. Julio Teheran on Friday will get his second crack at the Marlins, who have the best home record in the Majors at 20-8. Miami is tied with Atlanta for first place in the National League East.
Teheran has started on the road only once in his past seven turns, enduring his worst outing of the season on May 14 in San Francisco.
He gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and five walks in 3 1/3 innings against the Giants as he struggled to get a grip on the ball in the California air. The same problem persisted in his Game 3 loss to the Dodgers in last year's NL Division Series.
"Every time I get in this weather, I have a hard time," Teheran said following that outing. "I'm still trying to find a way to get through it."
The controlled climate within Marlins Park with the roof closed should help Teheran come closer to the 1.36 ERA he has compiled in his other 10 outings, all quality starts that have the right-hander tied for the most in the Majors.
Teheran has pitched 15 consecutive scoreless innings, including six scoreless against the Rockies on May 25. The young right-hander managed to work out of some early trouble before retiring 12 of the final 14 batters he faced.
The key for Teheran was throwing strikes, as he tossed only 23 balls in 93 pitches.
"That's what makes him good. He throws a lot of strikes," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "There's some deception with his delivery, but he commands all his pitches and throws [them] for strikes."
A rainout on Tuesday at Washington bumped Tom Koehler, who will pitch opposite Teheran, back a couple of days. Initially he was set to throw on Wednesday night at Nationals Park, but now the right-hander gets the nod in the series opener against Atlanta at Marlins Park.
Koehler faced the Braves once earlier this season, and he wasn't involved in the decision on April 21 at Turner Field. That day, he threw 6 1/3 innings, and he allowed two runs while striking out a season-high eight.
Of late, Koehler has fallen into a pattern of being hot one start and cold the next. He is coming off a rough outing in a loss to the Brewers in which he gave up a season-high seven runs.
"Like I said after the last start, it wasn't necessarily not throwing strikes, or walking people," Koehler said. "I just wasn't executing quality pitches. I kind of got off my game plan a little bit on how I like to pitch, and executing pitches. I just allowed them to take the action to me instead of forcing the action."
Due to the rainout, the right-hander is going six days between starts.
"It only changes if you allow it," Koehler said. "It's like anything else. If you allow negative thoughts to creep into your mind, like, 'Oh, man, I didn't get to do my normal running today or normal throwing.' I think then it will have an effect on you. You can't change the weather, so you just take it like another day."
Marlins: Looking to stay hot against Braves
Something rare happened the last time the Braves were at Marlins Park. Miami swept the Braves in South Florida for the first time in a three-game series since June 13-15, 2006, when the club played at Sun Life Stadium.
The Marlins scored 23 runs in the series. The big offensive output had the Braves publicly questioning if the Marlins were sign stealing.
At home, the Marlins are 20-8.
As a team at Marlins Park, they are batting .288 with 28 home runs and 151 RBIs. They've scored 156 runs.
Braves: Gonzalez downplays suspicion of stolen signs
• Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez did not give credence to rumors that the Marlins stole signs from the Braves when Miami swept the Braves from April 29-May 2 at Marlins Park.
As Atlanta returns to South Florida, Gonzalez again took time to downplay the hoopla that developed in the decidedly one-sided series.
"That story kind of got a life of its own, and it shouldn't have," Gonzalez said. "We'll treat it the same. It wasn't the initial report. Second stories, third stories and they become something. Right when it first came out, I kind of poo-poo'ed it. So no, we won't do anything.
"There's always these rumors that go around. … This fraternity is too close for somebody to not know something, that's why I'm thinking it's not true."
• One Marlin not off to a quick start against the Braves is Giancarlo Stanton, who is batting .208 (5-for-24) with one home run and four RBIs in six games.
• The Braves have won only two of their past 12 road games.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.