LOS ANGELES -- There's still hope for Mike Foltynewicz.There's the hope he can put Thursday night behind him. There's the hope he will start again in the National League Division Series, possibly in Game 4, if the Braves can win one of the next two games.Foltynewicz's first career postseason start
LOS ANGELES -- There's still hope for Mike Foltynewicz.
There's the hope he can put Thursday night behind him. There's the hope he will start again in the National League Division Series, possibly in Game 4, if the Braves can win one of the next two games.
Foltynewicz's first career postseason start against the Dodgers in Game 1 on Thursday was brief and costly. The right-hander was charged with four runs on three hits in in two innings to put the Braves in an early hole in the eventual 6-0 loss at Dodger Stadium.
:: NLDS schedule and results ::
The Braves' ace walked three batters, hit one, and struck out five in the defeat. He actually escaped what could have been further damage in a one-run first inning, but a three-run second chased him, and Sean Newcomb started the bottom of the third after Foltynewicz batted in the top half.
"I think [Foltynewicz] was amped up, overthrowing, got out of the delivery a little bit," manager Brian Snitker said. "He got hurt quick, really. I mean, we're lucky he got out of the first inning. But, you know, it was just a situation there you get behind against a guy like that, we were just trying to try and stop the bleeding there a little bit."
Foltynewicz proved to be his own worst enemy. He gave up a leadoff home run to Joc Pederson on an 0-2 pitch during the 28-pitch first inning. He narrowly avoided more damage by striking out Yasiel Puig with the bases loaded to end the eventful first frame. In the second, he hit Pederson with a pitch on an 0-2 count with two out and walked the next batter, Justin Turner, on six pitches.
Foltynewicz appeared to be upset about the 3-2 pitch to Turner that was called a ball, and he missed badly on the first pitch to Player Page for Max Muncy. The righty then followed with a 97-mph four-seam fastball in the middle of the strike zone that Muncy crushed for three-run home run that gave the Dodgers a 4-0 lead and changed the complexion of the game.
"I've been thinking about that all night, especially in years past, two strikes and two outs, pretty much for all that to unwind like that really takes the cake," Foltynewicz said. "You get two quick outs and then to get two strikes, hit the batter, fall behind, turn and walk them, and for that to happen and put your team down, 4-0, in the second inning is not where you want to be, especially opening up a series and then you have [Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw] [on Friday]."
Foltynewicz rebounded to strike out Manny Machado to end the second, but sitting at the 50-pitch mark, the question wasn't if the Braves were going to pull him, it was when.
The answer came in the third. Dansby Swanson's left-hand injury combined with the extended struggles Adam Duvall encountered after being acquired led the Braves to enter this series with limited pinch-hit options. It led Snitker to allow Foltynewicz to bat in the top of the third, despite knowing Newcomb would come out of the bullpen to begin the bottom of the inning.
Newcomb, who is no longer a candidate to start Game 3 on Sunday in Atlanta, gave up one hit in two scoreless innings of relief. He struck out two and threw only 25 pitches, a total that also puts him in the mix to pitch in Game 4 of the best-of-five series if the Braves can get there.
Max Fried, Brad Brach, Jonny Venters, and Chad Sobotka combined to allow only two hits and one run in four innings of relief on Thursday, which leaves Touki Toussaint, A.J. Minter and Arodys Vizcaino fresh in the bullpen.
Foltynewicz said he is available to pitch whenever he is called upon.
"[I can] be ready tomorrow if they want me," he said.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.