BOSTON — Massachusetts native Sean Newcomb was in line to make a homecoming start for the Atlanta Braves at Fenway Park on Friday night.
Instead, he will wait until Saturday as manager Brian Snitker has moved Julio Teheran into the Friday start against the Boston Red Sox and he did it for good reason.
Newcomb, a rookie, has thrived when given an extra days’ rest.
In fact, he is 4-0 with a 1.91 ERA while making seven of his previous nine starts with an extra day off.
“The extra days have been good for him,” Snitker said when making the change.
So, it’s Teheran, who hopes to reverse his recent struggles when he goes against lefty Eduardo Rodriguez in the opener of the three-game inter-league series between two franchises that used to call Boston home.
And this weekend matchup is between the two Eastern Division leaders, the surprising Braves a half-game up on the Philadelphia Phillies and the Red Sox a game ahead of the New York Yankees after a 6-3 loss at Tampa Bay Thursday night.
The Red Sox failing to finish off a sweep of the three-game series, but this weekend they get sparkplug Dustin Pedroia back in the lineup after he has finally made his return from left knee surgery. Manager Alex Cora said Pedroia, who played in rehab games both Wednesday and Thursday, would make his first start either Friday or Saturday.
Teheran started the month of May hot, with a pair of scoreless appearances. But in his last two starts, the right-hander has allowed 10 runs as his ERA ballooned from 3.14 to 4.17.
He gave up six runs in five innings his last time out but still comes into this game 4-1 on the season.
He has not been great in two career outings against the Red Sox, one of them at Fenway, going 0-2 with a 4.73 ERA and yielding 19 hits in 13 1/3 innings. His ERA at Fenway is 8.53.
Rodriguez, also 4-1, has spun scoreless outings two of his last three times out, yielding only three runs and striking out 19 in 15 2/3 innings. His pitch count remains a problem, limiting his innings, but he has been effective.
The Red Sox, 17-14 since starting the season 17-2, were sloppy and starter Rick Porcello was ineffective in Thursday night’s loss in St. Petersburg.
Porcello started the season 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA in seven starts but has gone 1-2 with a 7.29 over his last four.
“It’s baseball. That’s pitching,” Porcello said. “You’re going to have ebbs and flows over the course of the season, and you’ve got to make the necessary adjustments and get back on track.”
The Braves just dropped two of their three games against the equally surprising Phillies in Philadelphia. Atlanta scored three times against the Phillies and were shut out twice.
The current Red Sox are a collective 14-for-40 (.350) with two homers against Teheran. Mookie Betts is 4-for-8 (.500), Brock Holt 3-for-6 (.500) with a homer and Xander Bogaerts 3-for-7 (.429).
Cora is ready to manage his first game with Pedroia on the active roster. Cora was with the Red Sox when Pedroia came to the major leagues in 2006.
“We know how passionate he is, the quality of at-bats he will give us and defensively, what he brings,” said Cora. “When healthy, he’s one of the best second basemen in the big leagues. I’m looking forward to having him in the lineup. I think his energy is going to help not only on the field but off the field with his leadership.
“And everybody knows about our relationship, so I know people are going to bring it up. It’s a day I’ve been looking forward to, and to have him active and ready to contribute is going to be fun to see.”