Positive news only in AAA Gwinnett, as the Stripers sent Mike Foltynewicz to the mound for the fifth time since he’s been demoted. Here are the lines from his previous four starts in the International League.
6/29: 7.2 innings, five hits, two earned runs, one walk, and eight strikeouts
7/4: 5 innings, eight hits, two earned runs, two walks, and seven strikeouts
7/13: 5 innings, nine hits, four earned runs, one walk, and four strikeouts
7/18: 6 innings, four hits, one earned run, three walks, and six strikeouts
He’s been a winner in three out of four of those games but saved arguably the best start of his season for Wednesday.
Folty was in control, as he’s been all year. Walks have not been the issue like they were a season ago. The problem in 2019 has been home runs, and frankly, his stuff. The slider hasn’t been biting like it used to, and he’s left his fastball over the plate far too many times.
He went seven innings, allowing only four baserunners (3 hits, one walk) and one run with four strikeouts. Folty exited with a five-run lead – in part because of Adam Duvall – who hit his league-leading 29th bomb of the season in just his 92nd game. With Austin Riley struggling the way he is, it could finally be Duvall’s time to crack the major league roster. However, Wednesday was all about Foltynewicz.
Last year’s Ace could be the X-Factor of this team following the trade deadline. If he can return to form, the Braves have a weapon in their rotation they have not had all year. A top three of Soroka, Keuchel, and Foltynewicz is more than enough firepower to win a playoff series, providing Folty is on his way back.
We saw Gausman return for Atlanta last Sunday and throw seven innings of one-run ball in a critical contest versus the Nationals. That’s a promising sign going forward, but it won’t be enough to put the Braves over the top. Atlanta needs Mike Foltynewicz, or they need to acquire somebody at the trade deadline if they want to push the Dodgers in the National League.
Since being demoted, Folty has a 2.93 ERA with no home runs allowed and averaging nearly a strikeout per inning. Braves fans shouldn’t get too excited, but there’s finally some hope surrounding their estranged starter.