Kolten Wong swings and misses on a ball in the dirt, and just like that, we’re tied.
Riding the momentum of last night’s tragic loss, the Braves blanked St. Louis on the heels of the Mike Foltynewicz we know and love.
Foltynewicz, who began the season on the IL and struggled wildly upon his return, posted an absolute gem on the bump tonight. St. Louis saw only three hits in 7 innings of Folty magic, with seven strikeouts and not a single walk.
Folty was not only impressive tonight; he was ELITE. The stats speak for themselves.
.@Folty25 took care of business.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 4, 2019
Beautiful. I hate math, and these numbers are enough to excite me.
Anyway, the Braves played an incredible game from start to finish. Just about everything seemed to be working. Although there were some rough parts of tonight’s dub.
So…what worked and what didn’t? Let’s take a look.
What Went Right
The adage reigns true following the win; pitching wins pennants.
Mike Foltynewicz was lights out tonight and was followed by the stellar performances of Max Fried and Mark Melancon.
The resurgence of Folty has been incredible. His ace material could go a long way this postseason. Max Fried looks like a bullpen lock the rest of the way this year too. #ChopOn
— Patrick MacCoon (@PMacCoon) October 4, 2019
Let’s talk about this for a second.
Now, I’m not saying “immediately lock Fried in as a bullpen option for the playoffs” or anything like that.
But you have to admit; it’s been working REALLY well.
The young superstar threw two innings of more than impressive baseball the last two days. At one point, it was looking like he’d get an immaculate inning to close out the 8th. Without the late-inning magic, both last night and tonight may have ended much differently.
2. The Redemption Factor
Our seasons have centered around a big thing the last couple of years; redemption.
Bringing back Markakis. Giving Venters a chance, who turned into the comeback player of the year. Not dropping Foltynewicz and Duvall following the sheer collapse that was their last year or so.
There was so much redemption for two players in this game. Mike Foltynewicz and Adam Duvall were both relegated to the minors this season. Foltynewicz throws 7 scoreless innings, Duvall pinch hits for him and delivers a 2-run homer. How can you not love baseball?
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) October 4, 2019
Duvall saw most of 2019 in AAA. Foltynewicz fell apart following his late debut and only found traction after a long demotion.
Both of these guys were vital in tonight’s win.
During Duvall’s pinch-hit at-bat, he went to a full count with two outs left, up against a VERY comfortable Jack Flaherty.
I’m not gonna lie; I thought for a second that Flaherty had him. I thought it was gonna be a 1-0 game.
Duvall stepped in and said, “NOPE.”
— MLB (@MLB) October 4, 2019
Like we proved just a few short days ago when we won the East, even the experts can be wrong (although, I don’t think I’m an expert; just a sports journalist with a passion for my city.)
Duvall’s 2-run jack and Folty’s lights-out arm gave Atlanta the win. AA saw something in them and believed they could bounce back strong. He was DEAD ON. Just give this man the Executive of the Year award already.
What Didn’t Work
An unfortunate blunder in the looming playoff history of the Atlanta Braves; we get tied up on the bags, making things much closer than they needed to be.
For those who don’t remember the 1991 World Series, baserunning was the downfall of the Braves back then, too. Minnesota fooled Lonnie Smith and kept him at third on a play that should have easily scored him and, well, the rest is history.
If the Braves want to see more October baseball, they need to be more aggressive and cranial on the base paths, not trying to out-best their opponents and sticking to the signals; and not trying to run on guys named Yadier Molina, because that doesn’t end well.
The Braves head to St. Louis tied with the Birds to try and take Game 3 in unfamiliar territory. The unstoppable boy wonder Mike Soroka takes the bump against the legendary former Brave (sigh) Adam Wainwright.
Game time is set fort 4:10 PM on Sunday, October 6th.
You can catch all the action through your local cable provider on TBS.
As always, for detailed analysis, recaps, and news throughout the playoffs stay keyed into SportsTalkATL.