Atlanta Braves: Foltynewicz looks to shut down Cards in decisive Game 5
Can Folty Carry His Momentum to a Game 5 Victory?
As I mentioned before, Mike Foltynewicz was absolutely incredible in Game 2 of the series. He had every pitch working and kept the Cardinals off-balance all night.
He knew that with Jack Flaherty on the mound for St. Louis he needed to bring his A-game. Folty did just that and gave the Braves one of the best performances of his career.
Mike will need to repeat this performance again in an important final game of the 2019 NLDS. His first start ended after throwing just 81 pitches compared to Flaherty who threw 117 of them for St. Louis.
Folty will start on normal rest and likely be more rested than Flaherty. However, I don’t expect Flaherty to struggle nearly as much as he did in Game 2.
You can expect Folty to come in excited and ready to go. He’s got all the confidence in the world and has earned this opportunity to send the Atlanta Braves to the next round of the playoffs.
If Atlanta hitters can use the same approach they did early in Game 2, I like their chances of getting early runs. It will take early runs to beat Flaherty.
Not only that, but the Braves offense will also need to take advantage of every chance they get with runners on base. If Folty comes out with the wipeout slider he featured in his first start and the Braves can muster up some offense early, you can look for Atlanta to advance to the NLCS.
However, if for any reason Folty does not have his best stuff on Wednesday, Brian Snitker will have to turn to his bullpen to pitch the most important innings of their lives.
Who would be available?
If I had to take a guess, I’d say the short answer is everyone is available out of the bullpen. Dallas Keuchel has already offered that he would be available if needed.
However, I’d like to nail down some guys that I think you will see in this game if the bullpen is needed.
The first guy I’d want to see out of the Atlanta bullpen is Max Fried. The Atlanta lefty has been nothing short of incredible out of the bullpen.
In 3 appearances, Fried has pitched 2.1 innings allowing just 1 hit with 4 strikeouts. Now, Fried has walked 2 batters but that came in Game 3 and none of those runs scored thanks to Darren O’Day.
Shane Greene, Darren O’Day, Josh Tomlin, and Sean Newcomb would be the other guys that I think would come out of the bullpen as well in the middle innings. Those guys have been some of the most dependable arms for Atlanta so far.
Luke Jackson is always an option but the guy makes me so nervous in big spots, I hope we don’t have to rely on him.
You’d see Mark Melancon come in with the game tied or with the Braves ahead by a couple of runs. He’s settled in now after a tough outing during the first game of the series.
His line during game one ended with 1.0 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, K. Just an atrocious performance by the Atlanta Braves closer.
Since then, Melancon has pitched 2 innings allowing just 3 hits with 0 earned runs, 0 walks, and 3 strikeouts. I’d say he figured out whatever the Cardinals had during game one, whether that be tipping his pitches or ambushing early in the count.
This will be an all hands on deck kind of game with the exception of probably Mike Soroka who would be on extremely short rest.