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Woes continue for Foltynewicz in rough start

NEW YORK -- Like most other talented young pitchers who have ever risen to the Major League level, Mike Foltynewicz was bound to encounter a rough stretch. But that didn't make it any easier for the Braves' rookie hurler to discuss how he was unable to get through the fifth inning of Sunday's 10-8 loss to the Mets.

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"You're not going to be perfect," Foltynewicz said. "If it was that easy, everybody would be doing it. I'm just going through a rough spot right now. I know how good I am and I know my capabilities. I've just got to go out there and get that confidence back a little bit and attack guys. It seems like a broken record the past three starts."

Though he was given an 8-3 lead by the time he took the mound in the fourth inning, Foltynewicz allowed nine hits and six runs (five earned) over 4 1/3 innings. He surrendered a pair of solo home runs in the fourth inning and then concluded his 75-pitch effort after surrendering Lucas Duda's one-out single in the fifth inning, which was highlighted by Travis d'Arnaud's two-run homer off Brandon Cunniff.

Given that Duda's single simply provided the Mets with a baserunner with one out in the inning, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez had the option to stick with Foltynewicz. But his decision to turn to his struggling bullpen so early was influenced by the recent struggles experienced by Foltynewicz, who has surrendered a .403 batting average while allowing at least four earned runs in each of his past three starts.

"It's a learning thing," Gonzalez said. "You're going to have some good starts and you're going to have some bad starts."

It appeared Foltynewicz was in a good spot when he allowed just three earned runs in the 14 1/3 innings he completed over his final two May starts. At that point, he had a 3.96 ERA through his first six career starts. More importantly, he seemed to have a feel for the slider, which has provided him problems his past two outings.

Foltynewicz surrendered two straight singles on sliders to begin Sunday afternoon's game. Though he shied away from the pitch over the remainder of the afternoon, his inability to locate his fastball and changeup also proved detrimental as he surrendered Wilmer Flores' two-run single in the third inning and solo homers to Darrell Ceciliani and Dilson Herrera in the fourth inning.

"I didn't have it today, period," Foltynewicz said. "When a team gives you a five-run lead, you've got to go out and take advantage of it. I didn't do that today. I just left everything up from the start -- the fastballs, curveballs, sliders, and even the changeups were up today.

"I threw a couple good curves, but with two strikes, I just left everything in the zone. I think I'm trying to overthrow the slider and leaving it up in the zone. Other than that, I just didn't do a good job of executing anything today."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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