The Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins meet for the second of their three-game series tonight at Target Field. They got into a close one last night, with the Twins taking a 3-1 lead into the later stages of the contest, though the bullpen allowed things to get interesting in the 7th.
The Braves tied it up with a couple of runs to add another blown game for a bullpen this season. Atlanta have some breathing room in the NL East and can afford a loss here and there. The Nationals and Phillies are a touchdown away from catching the Braves.
With under two months to play in the regular season, it’s going to take a considerable dive by the Braves for the Nats or Phils to get back into this race. They’re in the wildcard race and that’s likely where they are going to stay. My confidence level in the Nationals is not too high.
Meanwhile, over in the NL Central, the Twins are trying to fend off a Indians club who have been stuck in the same spot for a little while now. They’re there but can’t get over the hump. Cleveland blew a chance last night, but got zero run support. A leadoff double and a runner on 3rd with 1 out didn’t amount to anything. That’s what bad teams do.
The Indians did an excellent job getting back into the fight, but now they’ve been floating in the same spot with no traction. Cleveland have a couple of scenarios that are open at the moment. They can either catch the Twins and win the NL Central or go to the Wild Card Game. Both situations are currently in play for the Tribe.
Atlanta will send out Mike Foltynewicz who has been the weak link in the Braves’ rotation this season. Foltynewicz pitches well and they have a double-digit lead in the NL East. However, he’s fallen off after breaking out last year. Folty will be making his first start since June 22nd after being recalled for tonight. Kevin Gausman was placed on waivers to make room for him. Head below for our free Braves vs. Twins pick.
Atlanta Braves vs. Minnesota Twins Pick:
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The Braves are going to be watching Foltynewicz closely here. He can still be an x-factor for the Braves in the postseason. However, he can also be a pretty big liability if he can’t figure it out soon. Foltynewicz posted an ERA of 2.85 in 31 starts a season ago. While everyone was excited about what he did, that was only one season, certainly not a large enough sample size to lean one way or the other with him.
The larger sample size from previous seasons shows he’s a below average to average pitcher. In his fifth season in 2018, it was the first year that Folty had an ERA below 4.00. So, this could just be him reverting back to the mean in 2019. He heads into Tuesday with a 6.37 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 59.1 innings pitched. Prior to getting demoted to AAA, he had an ERA of 7.80 and .400 OBA in his previous three outings.
Foltynewicz pitched 51.1 innings in the minors and made some strides. He posted a 3.86 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, which is adequate, but if that translates to the majors remains to be seen. It’s not going to be that easy for him. Mike Soroka pitched 7 strong innings for the Braves last night, but Soroka is not Foltynewicz. Soroka has been on a massive tear in his rookie season. He will have to keep up with Jose Berrios, who has developed into the ace of the club in Minnesota.
Berrios has been great for the Twins, as he puts his ERA of 2.80 on the line tonight. He’s been hot as well recently, with a 0.92 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in his last three contests. It’s been since May 18th that a team has scored more than 3 runs on him, and he’s been stellar at home, with an ERA of 2.10 and 1.13 WHIP. This should make for another entertaining game after Sano walked the Braves off last night. In the end, though, expect Berrios to have the upper hand over Foltynewicz to give the Twins their second straight big win.