DENVER – Mike Foltynewicz appears to have truly turned a corner in his career and figured some things out, now the Braves’ most power-armed starter will put his progress to the test at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
The Braves’ four-game series against the Rockies begins tonight with a rematch of a well-pitched game five days ago in Atlanta, when Folty and the Rockies Chad Bettis each churned out a quality start before Colorado won the battle of bullpens and the game, 4-3.
Folty and other Braves pitchers would love to have anything resembling the run support that Bettis has received this season.
In eight home starts, Bettis is 3-2 despite a 6.09 ERA and .333 opponents’ average, with 62 hits allowed in 44 1/3 innings (though only four homers). The Rockies have scored nearly eight runs per nine innings pitched by Bettis in home games.
He’s 2-1 in his past five home starts with a 7.77 ERA and .373 opponents’ average. Think about those numbers. The Rockies scored five or more runs while he was in the game in each of those five starts, even though he lasted five innings or fewer in three of them including starts of 3 2/3 innings and three innings.
Bettis is 3-1 in his past six starts despite a 4.95 ERA and .309 opponents’ average, with 46 hits and 20 earned runs allowed in 36 1/3 innings. The Rockies provided him with 6.2 support runs per nine innings pitched in that span, scoring five or more runs while he was in the game in four of the six starts.
Compare that to Foltynewicz, who is 2-1 with a 3.15 ERA and .215 opponents’ average in his past six starts, receiving two or zero support runs while he was in four of those games and three runs while in another.
By the way with runners in scoring position Bettis has allowed a .324 average (35-for-108), .395 OBP and .528 slugging percentage. The Braves had limited opportunity with RISP against him on Saturday and went 2-for-3 with a homer and walk in those plate appearances.
They got three runs against Bettis in 6 2/3 innings, then were shut out by the Rockies bullpen the rest of the way.
Bettis is 2-1 with 5.70 ERA in five games (four starts) against the Braves including a 3.09 ERA in the past two. Neither he nor Foltynewicz figured in the decision Saturday.
Folty comes in on an encouraging nine-start run – 3-2, 3.27 ERA — that’s been the most impressive sustained run of his young career, including 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA and .184 OA in his past two starts.
In those two games — at Chicago against the White Sox and at home against the Rockies – he allowed just nine hits and two walks with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings, and two of three runs he gave up in that span scored after he left the game Saturday against the Rockies.
He took a two-hit shutout to the eighth inning Saturday against the Rockies, then gave up a single, walk and single to the first three batters in the eighth before being replaced.
Against Foltynewicz, DJ LeMahieu is 5-for-7, while Nolan Arenado is 0-for-7 and Carlos Gonzalez is 2-for-5.
Against Bettis, A.J. Pierzynski is 4-for-8 with a home run, Ender Inciarte is 3-for-6, Nick Markakis is 3-for-8 and Freddie Freeman is 0-for-9.