|Young aces Teheran, deGrom square off|
ATLANTA -- Julio Teheran was 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two starts in New York against the Mets last season and 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in three home outings.
That was part of the drastic splits for Teheran in 2017 during the Braves' first season at SunTrust Park, with the right-hander going 3-10 with a 5.86 ERA in Atlanta compared 8-3 with a 3.14 ERA on the road.
Teheran, though, goes into his first 2018 start against the Mets on Saturday night coming off an encouraging home outing in a victory over Philadelphia in which he struck out nine in six innings and was dominant after giving up an early home run.
The key for Teheran, who was roughed up on Opening Night to continue his home struggles, was his slider. He got 11 swinging strikes and four called strikes on 27 of those pitches.
"Whenever I've got my slider and I'm able to make it a swing and a miss, that's a different game and you can see a different Julio," Teheran said afterwards. "It's been a long time since I struck out that many hitters."
The nine strikeouts were the most for Teheran since 2016.
The former All-Star will have to be at the top of his game again against the first-place Mets and right-hander Jacob deGrom, who is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA.
Even with the victory over the Phillies, Teheran is just 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. He still wants to be thought of as the Braves' ace, though.
"With this game, I think I can be the guy," Teheran said after baffling Philadelphia hitters. "I've been working and keeping my head up. I'm doing the best I can to be that guy."
DeGrom won 15 games and struck out 239 batters last season while establishing himself as an ace with the Mets. He is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 25 innings this year.
DeGrom became the first Mets starter to pitch into the eighth inning in his last start, but the 29-year-old got a no-decision despite 12 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings when he and the bullpen coughed up a five-run lead against Washington.
"He was great against a really good lineup," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "If he continues pitching like that, we're going to win most of those games, like we should have tonight."
DeGrom was 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts against the Braves last season and is 5-3 with a 2.19 ERA in 11 career games versus Atlanta.
Teheran, a 27-year-old native of Colombia, has been successful in his career against the Mets, going 8-5 with a 2.58 ERA in 20 outings.
New York left fielder Yoenis Cespedes is 4-for-18 without a homer against Teheran, but catcher Jose Loboton is 7-for-20 with a pair of home runs.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is 7-for-28 with two homers against deGrom.
The Mets (14-5) evened the four-game series against the Braves (11-8) at a victory apiece, winning 5-3 in 12 innings on Friday.