PHILADELPHIA -- If Mike Foltynewicz continues to make strides this season, the Braves might recall their current frustrating stretch as when they gained a legitimate frontline starter.Building off Tuesday's seven-inning start against the Nationals, Foltynewicz took the mound at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon in a relaxed mood. He
PHILADELPHIA -- If Mike Foltynewicz continues to make strides this season, the Braves might recall their current frustrating stretch as when they gained a legitimate frontline starter.
Building off Tuesday's seven-inning start against the Nationals, Foltynewicz took the mound at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon in a relaxed mood. He confidently spun his slider during a nine-strikeout effort that went for naught. The Phillies recorded back-to-back-to-back home runs in the eighth vs. the Atlanta bullpen to claim a 5-2 win over the Braves, who have lost six straight.
"He had a great outing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It might have been the best one of his Major League career. He was on the attack. He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes. He was really, really good."
As Foltynewicz limited the Phillies to one run on four hits over seven innings, he conjured memories of the brilliance he'd shown while notching his career-best 10 strikeouts against the White Sox last July.
"I woke up today and had a lot of confidence," Foltynewicz said. "That just transferred over to the game. I had all of the confidence in the world. I didn't have any fear against the hitters, and I was just going and attacking them. I think I did a good job of just attacking the zone all day."
Foltynewicz started his outing impressively with an eight-pitch first inning that included two strikeouts. He notched the first of three strikeouts against Aaron Altherr with a letter-high, 96.3-mph fastball and got Odubel Herrera to swing through a knee-high slider to end the frame.
When Foltynewicz wanted to overpower hitters, he spotted his plus fastball with regularity. And when it came time for him to create a swing-and-miss with an offspeed pitch, he confidently attacked the strike zone. He used his slider to conclude two of the three strikeouts notched during a perfect sixth and his changeup to end the other.
"I thought all day he was in control of himself and his stuff, the whole thing," Snitker said. "He was on the attack against a hot club right now. It was really impressive what he did."
Maintaining composure will continue to be a key to Foltynewicz's development. He provided further indication he's moving in the right direction when he surrendered three straight one-out hits in the seventh inning and then responded to a mound visit from pitching coaching Chuck Hernandez by getting Andrew Knapp to ground into an inning-ending double play.
"We're going to keep taking steps higher and higher and just keep building off of that confidence," Foltynewicz said. "That was a huge key for me, I was just pitching and not worrying about anything else. It was a good feeling out there today. Now, we'll just roll it into the next one."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.