Playoff baseball can be a mean animal to a young player.
Braves starter Julio Teheran is the latest victim, allowing six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings in a 13-6 loss to the Dodgers in Game 3 of the NLDS.
The Dodgers lead the series 2-1 with a possible clincher on Monday.
Teheran was chewed up and spit out by poor mechanics that led to an onslaught of hits and runs early and often. Although he stayed ahead in the count at a pretty good rate, he was giving up hits when he wasn't striking batters out. He fanned five and walked one.
Teheran struggled repeating mechanics, dropping and driving that led to him not being able to stay on top of the ball. The result was breaking pitches left up in the zone and a fastball that he struggled commanding at times. He never had his out pitch, letting Dodgers batters sit fastball while pounding breaking ball mistakes.
Teheran has had trouble staying on top of the ball in the past. The fact that it popped up after he had succeeded in avoiding it for most of the season could mean adrenaline might have worked against him in his first postseason start, but this is speculation.
What isn't speculation is that the Braves had their best opportunity for a win so far this series until Teheran squandered it. Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu had very little working, struggling to spot his pitches and getting knocked around for four runs in three innings. The Braves were poised to hold a comfortable lead, but pitching changed that quickly.
Even after Teheran was pulled, Alex Wood, who was Plan B as a playoff starter behind Freddy Garcia, allowed four runs in 2.1 innings. He struck out three but was hit hard, including a home run to Juan Uribe.
The bright spots for the Braves were the usual offensive suspects. Jason Heyward became the first Brave to homer in the series, a two-run shot in the ninth. Evan Gattis had three singles, Justin Upton doubled and had two hits, Freddie Freeman had two singles, and Chris Johnson drove in two. The core of the offense showed up in this game.
For the Braves, it comes down to Garcia in Game 4 on Monday. He has been very good since getting called to Atlanta, allowing five runs in 27.1 innings, but it's tough to ignore his recent history, including an ERA north of 5 for his past two teams.