The Atlanta Braves put Thursday’s disappointing loss behind them and flipped the script with a 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the NLDS. The series will now shift to St. Louis where Mike Soroka will make his postseason debut in a matchup against Adam Wainwright.
Having taxed their bullpen in Game 1, the Braves needed a strong performance from Foltynewicz and he delivered allowing three hits and striking out seven over seven shutout frames. Perhaps more impressive was that he didn't walk a single batter and threw just 81 pitches. Brian Snitker admitted after the game that it wasn’t an easy decision to remove Foltynewicz from the game in the seventh. The crowd booed as Adam Duvall was announced as the pinch-hitter but those boos turned to cheers quickly as he connected on a two-run home run off of Jack Flaherty to extend the lead to 3-0.
Both players are great examples of perseverance. Foltynewicz’s season was derailed early by a sore elbow in spring training. He struggled once he joined the club and eventually ended up back at Gwinnett. He has been a different pitcher since returning and turned in one of the best performances of his career on Friday.
At one point it looked like Duvall might not even stick on the roster. After struggling at the end of last season and failing to turn heads at spring training, he was optioned to Gwinnett where he played in over 100 games. Nick Markakis’ injury opened the door for a return to the majors and he has taken advantage.
Max Fried turned in another strong performance in relief allowing one hit while striking out two. Snitker showed a lot of confidence in Mark Melancon as he turned to him again in the ninth. Melancon allowed back-to-back singles to Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna but struck out Yadier Molina and Kolton Wong to lock down the victory.
Atlanta Braves Podcasts
Brad and Scott discuss Mike Foltynewicz’s big performance, Adam Duvall and more from the Braves’ Game 2 win.
More Braves notes
- Atlanta officially replaced injured reliever Chris Martin with Julio Teheran. Martin suffered an oblique injury while warming up in Game 1. He will now be ineligible to pitch in the NLCS should the Braves advance.
- Mark Melancon was happy to get another opportunity after his Game 1 disaster.
- Cardinals’ starter Jack Flaherty was nearly perfect but two bad pitches pretty much sealed his fate.
- Justin Verlander dominated the Tampa Bay Rays to lead the Houston Astros to a 6-2 win in Game 1 of the ALDS. Verlander allowed just one hit and struck out eight over seven scoreless innings. Jose Altuve homered to help spark a four-run fifth inning for the Astros.
- DJ LeMahieu homered and drove in four runs as the Yankees flexed their muscles in a 10-4 win over the Twins. New York is 14-2 in the postseason against Minnesota and have now won 11 straight.
- Stephen Strasburg allowed one run over six innings while striking out 10 as he outdueled Clayton Kershaw in a 4-2 win by the Nationals. With their back to the wall, Washington pulled out all the stops calling on Max Scherzer to pitch the eighth. Scherzer blanked the Dodgers with a 14-pitch inning just one day after he was named as the starter for Game 3. Washington will now decide on Saturday whether they will stick with Scherzer or go with Anibal Sanchez on Sunday. Hyun Jin-Ryu is scheduled to start for Los Angeles.
- The victory may have come at a cost for the Nationals as Victor Robles left the game in the eighth inning with a tweaked hamstring.
- Chris Young is out as Phillies pitching coach but has been offered another job within the organization. No word yet on whether or not he plans to accept the offer. There is still no word on the status of manager Gabe Kapler and their likely won’t be a decision announced until sometime next week.
- The New York Mets relieved Mickey Callaway of his duties on Thursday and are set to begin a search for their next manager. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo lists some interesting candidates for the opening including Joe Girardi, Joe Maddon and Buck Showalter along with former Mets Carlos Beltran and David Cone.
- The Chicago Cubs have already began their search for a replacement for Maddon. Bench coach Mark Loretta had his interview on Thursday while Will Venable and David Ross are scheduled to sit down with club officials next week.
- The San Diego Padres are reportedly doing background work on manager Joe Maddon. The Angels are seen as the front runner but the Padres could present a compelling case to the former Cubs skipper.
- Former Braves closer Craig Kimbrel struggled after signing on late in the season as a free agent. He is hoping that a full spring training next season will help him return to form.
- The Pirates announced a new multi-year extension for their television rights with AT&T Sports Networks.