Folty digs deep, goes strong 7 vs. SD

April 11th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- After a leadoff single and a two-out walk in the seventh inning, Rangers manager Chris Woodward made his way out to the mound to talk to starting pitcher . Woodward left Foltynewicz in the game, showing confidence in the veteran right-handed pitcher to get out of the inning unscathed.

And that’s what he did, inducing a ground ball to the shortstop from Padres' catcher Victor Caratini to end the inning. Foltynewicz and the bullpen were able to keep Texas within striking distance, but the Rangers ultimately fell, 2-0, to the Padres in the series finale Sunday at Globe Life Field.

Woodward said he went out to the mound with the intention of pulling Foltynewicz, but he told his manager that he could get the final out. Foltynewicz said he wanted to get back into the swing of being a full-blown starting pitcher after spending nearly all of the 2020 season at the Braves' alternate training site. He was confident he could get out of the inning.

“Just [Woodward] having that trust in me, in that certain situation at this point of the season after what happened in my career and all that stuff,” Foltynewicz said. “They were going to trust me and he had the confidence. I said it's just too much hard work to fail there.

“I had to dig down really, really deep and make some quality pitches there, which I did to get the ground-ball out.”

For the first time since 2019, Foltynewicz looked like a big league pitcher again. He was perfect through three innings, retiring the Padres' entire lineup the first time through the order. His lone blemish was a home run by Trent Grisham in the fourth inning, but he notched three strikeouts to three walks.

Woodward commended Foltynewicz’s growth since being designated for assignment after his first start of ‘20, especially for his composure after giving up the home run. Even in 2018-19, when he had a secure place in the Braves' rotation, Foltynewicz would often let his emotions get the best of him on the mound.

Woodward said Foltynewicz has learned not to let things spiral out of control. Foltynewicz said he used to think he had to be perfect through every inning and once he let go of that thought process, it was easier to keep himself grounded.

“He’s an emotional guy, and he pitches with a lot of emotion,” Woodward said. “He's learned to control that. I think that this is a new start, fresh start here and he feels really good about where his stuff is. He's really dialed in on the mental side, taking deep breaths in between pitches and making sure he can still go out and execute.”

“Today it could have got under my skin a little bit after that home run, but that's just not me anymore,” Foltynewicz added. “I had four or five, six innings left for the boys and I just had to bear down and started making a little bit better pitches.”

Foltynewicz is the first Rangers starter to reach a full seven innings this season. Righty Kyle Gibson previously went the longest, pitching six innings against the Blue Jays on Wednesday.

The Rangers' offense lagged once again. It ended up with five hits and four walks, but also struck out 11 times. Texas hitters stranded 10 runners on base, including going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

Despite the late-inning comeback attempt, Woodward said he was more disappointed in the first five innings in which the Rangers only hit was an infield single from Jose Trevino.

“We were chasing [balls], were expanding [the zone], we were doing everything we don't want to do,” Woodward said. “We had a chance to win the game. We put some pressure on them, but unfortunately couldn't get the big hit. Folty pitched a great game. He basically threw the whole. He gave up one hit, the home run. You shouldn't lose a game like that when the starting pitcher did everything to give us a chance to win.”