Braves hope to cross up D-backs with Foltynewicz (Jul 15, 2017)
ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz is the hardest throwing starter for the Atlanta Braves, the right-hander's fastball averaging 95 mph and often hitting 98-99 mph.
Foltynewicz's pitches will probably seem even faster, though, when he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night in the middle of three-game weekend series.
Braves manager Brian Snitker shuffled his rotation during the All-Star break, slotting Foltynewicz behind veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. The move was made with the vast difference in velocity in mind.
"If hitters are going to get screwed up, that's how it could happen," Snitker said. "We thought about it earlier, but it just didn't work out. The break gave us an opportunity, so we took advantage of it. You really couldn't get too much more different starters for hitters to have to face."
Foltynewicz (7-5, 3.77 ERA) has been on a roll as it is, taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Oakland on June 30 and following that up with a strong outing in a victory at Washington in his last start prior to the break.
The 25-year-old right-hander has won his past four decisions and hasn't lost since May 27 in San Francisco.
Foltynewicz has given up two earned runs or fewer in 12 of his 16 starts and has struck out 26 while allowing just six runs over his past 25 innings.
Foltynewicz may have to be at his best against the Diamondbacks in a matchup with Braves nemesis Patrick Corbin (6-9, 4.77) He has 25 strikeouts to three walks over 23 1/3 innings in four career starts against Arizona, but is 0-1 with a 6.17 ERA. .
Corbin hasn't allowed a run in 25 2/3 innings against the Braves while going 3-0 over three starts and two relief appearances.
Corbin, who is still trying to make it all the way back from Tommy John elbow surgery in 2014, hasn't pitched with much luck this season, though.
He has lost in his three decisions mostly due to little run support. Corbin took a 2-1 loss to Cincinnati in the Diamondbacks' last game before the All-Star break and has only one victory despite allowing three earned runs or fewer in each of his past six starts.
When receiving three or more runs of support, Corbin is 6-2.
"He's been throwing the ball really well," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of Corbin's recent work. "He had a good outing against Cincinnati and unfortunately we didn't get enough runs to give him a win. When his back was to the wall, he made quality pitches and got out of jams.
"He had a very successful April and then the league caught up to him a little bit in May," Lovullo said. "But he made his own adjustments in June and July. He's done just what we wanted over his past few starts, and that's keep us in the game."
The Braves (43-45) scored twice in the eighth inning of a 4-3 victory in the series opener Friday night, handing the Diamondbacks (53-37) their ninth loss in the past 12 games.
Dickey didn't get the win, but he allowed just one run over six innings, lowering his ERA in his past five starts to 1.09.