BRADENTON, Fla. -- Through three spring starts, the pitching line for Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz reads like a brilliant complete game.Nine innings, three hits allowed, no runs surrendered, three walks, two strikeouts.Foltynewicz remained brutally effective Saturday afternoon, when the Braves toppled the Pirates, 15-1, at LECOM Park.Foltynewicz, 10-13 last season,
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Through three spring starts, the pitching line for Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz reads like a brilliant complete game.
Nine innings, three hits allowed, no runs surrendered, three walks, two strikeouts.
Foltynewicz remained brutally effective Saturday afternoon, when the Braves toppled the Pirates, 15-1, at LECOM Park.
Foltynewicz, 10-13 last season, worked four scoreless innings and gave up two hits, both doubles, while stranding three runners in scoring position.
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For a Braves starting staff that might be forced to start the season without injured left-hander Luiz Gohara, it's great news. The Braves are expected to go with right-hander Julio Teheran and left-hander Sean Newcomb at the top of the rotation.
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Foltynewicz, filling the role as a solid No. 3 starter, would give the Braves the makings of a formidable staff in the National League.
Braves manager Brian Snitker said he likes what he has seen so far.
"Knock on wood, but I feel really good about it,'' Snitker said. "This has been a really good camp, and everybody is in good shape, not missing their turns or anything like that.
"We've got a while, so we'll continue to evaluate and watch. We're still in that process. There's a lot of opportunity. Anytime you get an opportunity on this stage, you want to take advantage of it and do well. So far, they have.''
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Foltynewicz, particularly, has shown much promise.
A former first-round pick by the Astros who has become a valuable addition for the Braves, Foltynewicz took a no-hitter into the ninth inning last season against the Athletics.
On that night, it was the little things that were working, such as bearing down in a two-strike count and not letting a poor sequence carry over into a bad inning.
So far this spring, it has been the same formula for Foltynewicz.
"I'm not reading into the stats too much,'' Foltynewicz said. "We're trying to work on things, getting my fastball where I need it, inside, outside.
"But to have them [get some baserunners] and not score, that was encouraging. When they had runners on second and third, something came over me and I told myself, 'They're not going to score.' It's great to pitch with that kind of confidence. I was able to get up four times [innings] and get deeper into the game. That's a positive.''
It has been a whirlwind spring for Foltynewicz, whose wife gave birth to their first child four days before he reported. He also had a salary arbitration hearing (the Braves won and will pay him $2.2 million this season).
"It was very crazy, all of that stuff being put on you right away,'' Foltynewicz said. "They say the first week [after having a child], you run on adrenaline. That's true, and then it wears off.
"I drove over here and I was almost falling asleep. That [lack of] sleep sneaks up on you. I am kind of worn down, but I'm still focusing on what we need to work on. We know what we need to do, and now it's just a matter of working at it.''
Snitker said Foltynewicz has done just that.
"I'm glad he's healthy and able to do all the normal things,'' Snitker said. "If he's pitching [healthy], he has a pretty good chance of being good. He's full bore right now with a good workload.
"He's throwing the ball well, and the ball is coming out of his hand really good. The biggest thing is each outing [in the spring] is its own separate little thing that you look at. He did pretty much what we wanted him to do today, just like the rest of the spring, and that's very encouraging."
Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Braves on Saturday.