ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz has realized his preseason goal to harness his emotions and end his tendency to be adversely affected by inevitable adversity. As the Braves right-hander has matured and firmly established himself as a legit frontline starter, he has also shown fortitude while not allowing a bad start to influence his next outing.
Coming off Monday's rough outing in Philadelphia, Foltynewicz once again looked dominant as he pitched into the seventh inning of Saturday night's 7-2 win over the Marlins at SunTrust Park. The 25-year-old hurler recorded a career-best 11 strikeouts and had no reason to be upset about the Giancarlo Stanton home run that accounted for the only run he surrendered.
"He has grown up," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "Every start, he's letting the attitude go a little bit more. That's what we need and what he needs. Every time he does this, he's pitching better and better. He's not letting one little pitch or one call that doesn't go his way to affect him the whole start."
While he might still be fueled by those emotions that led him to kick the mound or glare at the plate umpire more frequently during the past two seasons, Foltynewicz has been able to channel his anger much more effectively as he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 17 of 21 starts and fashioned a 3.86 ERA.
Foltynewicz has allowed five earned runs or more three times this year, with the most recent occasion coming Monday, when he needed 100 pitches to complete four innings against the Phillies. During each start that has followed those rough outings, he has allowed two runs or fewer and completed at least six innings.
"That's the big key, you don't really want to keep going downhill after a bad start," Foltynewicz said. "I make it a goal of mine after every rough outing to come back and be better than ever the next time."
As Foltynewicz recorded 21 called strikes and induced 12 swings-and misses per Statcast™ data during this latest outing against the Marlins, his stuff was certainly every bit as impressive as it was on June 30, when he carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning in Oakland. He retired Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna via strikeouts during a perfect fourth inning to cap a stretch in which he struck out eight of 10 batters faced. Yelich and Ozuna were both set down looking at a fastball that was just off the plate.
"Their guy was good early, for sure," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He's 97-98 [mph], and he was good. And that zone was pretty favorable tonight for him. He probably got six to 10 balls off the plate. When a guy is throwing 98, there's not a whole lot you're going to do with that when you're getting that pitch."
With the ability to consistently command his curveball and slider in any count while having the ability to dial up upper-90 mph fastballs, Foltynewicz has positioned himself to become one of the game's elite pitchers. He'll simply need to extend the maturity that has enabled him to make significant progress this season.
"There's a lot to like about what he's doing out there right now," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.