Mike Foltynewicz was having some troubles with the Miami Marlins Tuesday night.
The Atlanta Braves are hoping Foltynewicz returns to 2018 MLB All-Star form. When he’s on, he’s one of the toughest pitchers to get a base knock off. It’s that heat of his that had him on the precipice of becoming a closer before ultimately sticking in the Braves’ rotation. Well, he’s not throwing the ball very hard on Tuesday night versus the rival Miami Marlins in an exhibition.
Instead of hitting 98 MPH on the radar gun, Foltynewicz offered up three straight meatballs to a trio of Miami hitters. No. 8 hitter in catcher Jorge Alfaro took him deep. No. 9 hitter in shortstop Miguel Rojas made it back-to-back jacks. Then at the top of the order, leadoff man in centerfielder Jonathan Villar made it back-to-back-to-back home runs. Not a good start for Foltynewicz at all.
Is Tuesday night a bad sign for things to come with Mike Foltynewicz?
Atlanta has faith in its No. 1 and No. 2 starters in Mike Soroka and Max Fried, respectively. However, the Braves need Foltynewicz to pitch well in this 60-game season if they want to three-peat in the NL East. That’s because the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the Atlanta rotation are suspect at best. Sean Newcomb will be No. 4, while recently-signed Jhoulys Chacín might be the No. 5 guy.
Chacín was signed because veteran southpaw Cole Hamels won’t be ready to start the season. Atlanta had another veteran pitcher with them in spring training, but former Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez opted out of the 2020 MLB season. The other option here is former first-round pick Kyle Wright, who may be forced into action if Foltynewicz can’t get past Worst Inning Ever.
As for Miami, the Marlins are playing with house money. They are expected to finish in the basement of the NL East, but with a shortened season, maybe they can get back to the postseason for the first time since winning it as all the Florida Marlins back in 2003. They have the league’s second-longest active postseason drought, trailing the Mariners by only two seasons.
The Marlins used their bats to make the rival Braves even more nervous about Foltynewicz.