Wow, what’s not to love right now? The Braves starting pitchers have a 2.68 ERA in the last 14 days, and a 2.27 ERA in the last 7, and last night it was Mike Foltynewicz’s turn to twirl. After throwing 82, 90, and 99 pitchers in the three starts preceding it, Mike threw only 67 pitches in his last outing. And he did that in an efficient six innings, and Snit said later that he wasn’t feeling quite right. But Folty came back throwing 89 pitches last night, and he had another great start, throwing 6 innings with no earned runs, no walks, and seven strikeouts. That’s 12 straight innings without a walk for Folty. The reports of his demise seem to have been greatly exaggerated.
Similar growth from the bullpen. After being abysmal for the beginning of the year, the Braves’ pen also has an impressive 2.52 ERA in the last week. It’s amazing what happens when you put good pitchers in the bullpen. Huh. Jerry Blevins got his lefty for the first hitter in the sixth, Dan Winkler got the remaining two, then Anthony Swarzak contributed a scoreless 8th (his second scoreless appearances for the Braves), and then Sean Newcomb finished it off, though he gave up a home run to Matt Carpenter. That was Newcomb’s second straight outing giving up a home run, though.
So the pitching, while fragile, continues to round into form, every night the Braves have a hitter who can carry the team. Last night it was Dansby Swanson, who hit two home runs and drove in three. Dansby sits at 1.2 fWAR for the year, increasing his pace now to a full season of a 3.7 fWAR. In the last week, Dansby is hitting .370/.414/.704 with 3 HRs (193 wRC+). He continues to be a streaky hitter, but his highs are vastly outweighing his lows. Finally.
One negative note: I’d really love to see Ronald Acuna avoid some of these mistakes in centerfield:
He’s still really struggling on balls hit directly over his head. He gets turned around easily, but he doesn’t have the hands to make the corrections at the last moment. He’s just going to have to learn to make better reads. But when you have 6.4 bWAR in your first 162 games according to this article from MLB.com, I think we can let some things slide.
Also, a gentleman from the Jim Rome Show emailed me asking me to share this interview with Austin Riley. Enjoy!