Well, that was unexpected. It was really great to see the top half of the Braves offense perform last night. Jace Peterson and Gordon Beckham set the table consistently, and Freddie Freeman, who is busting out of his slump big time, went 4-4 and plated four of the first seven runs himself. While the top half supplied the bulk of the damage, this was a top-to-bottom offense ‘outburst’ for a team that simply doesn’t have many of them. Five guys in all had two hits apiece, with Human Outs AJ Pierzynski and Erick Aybar not providing much at the bottom of the order. The lefty-right-lefty combo of Peterson, Beckham, and Freeman seems to be working together well.
Sadly, Mike Foltynewicz did not have it. His fastball was straight as a board, his emotions ran high at times, and he gave up 12 hits en route to getting chased in the sixth. His control was great in that he had no walks, but he’s got to learn to pitch when he doesn’t have electrifying stuff. He’s a classic young power pitcher: brilliant, dominant high-strikeout performances and outings where he gets rocked out of the stadium.
But with the depth of the bullpen, a bad starting pitching performance gives some guys an opportunity to showcase both trade and future value. Trade candidates Ian Krol and Jim Johnson both did their jobs, with Krol getting the lone lefty he was brought in to face, and Johnson registered two strike outs to get a save. Chris Withrow and Mauricio Cabrera both pitched scoreless outings, with the letter recording three strike outs in an inning and a third. Cabrera is only 22, absolutely huge, and his strike outs are finally coming around. After recording only one strike out in his first five innings, he has had 11 strike outs in 8 2/3 innings in his last 7 games.
But the big news is the Braves turned two players who had been unemployed 9 weeks ago into what MLB Pipeline says is now our #9 prospect: Travis Demeritte. He played second base for the USA in the Futures Game, and he’s got big power from the right side. The Braves plan to use him all over the field to find the best fit, and based on his age, they should be able to figure something out if he can continue to hit.