After Game 1, Braves Country felt defeated. They were clearly the better team than the Cardinals but blew the game late. It almost felt like the series was already over, and it was going to be the same old story since 2001. However, the team came back with vengeance in Game 2 and went on to tie things up on the backs of an unlikely duo just months ago.
Mike Foltynewicz received Cy Young votes last year, but started out the season with elbow problems and never quite returned to form until the Braves had to go to their last resort: send him to AAA. Since his return, Folty has been one of the best pitchers in baseball, going from no rotation spot to a Game 2 start. Foltynewicz did not just come up big, he had the best start of his young career. This is the Folty John Copoolella had in mind when he traded for him. He has shown that last season was far from a fluke, despite his volatility as far as performance has gone in the MLB. At his best, there are few better.
Many were critical of Brian Snitker’s decision to pinch-hit Adam Duvall after seven shutout innings for Folty. That was short-lived, as Duvall hit a mammoth 2-run homer to put the game on ice. Acquired from the Reds last year, Duvall was terrible as a Brave in 2018. It seemed as if he had capitalized on playing in the Great American Small park, and that his best days were behind him. He was sent to AAA to start the year, where he went on to hit over 30 home runs. It took an injury or two to get him back to the bigs, but he has been a contributor and is the Braves’ best shot at a big hit off the bench. He can play defense too.
This is all to say never give up. These two guys had to humble themselves down in AAA for long stints this year and now they are helping carry a playoff team. It is an awesome story, and hopefully just one of many to come from this Braves playoff team this season. Mike Soroka will have the ball in Game 3 as the Braves look to take a series lead in St. Louis.