What do the Braves do with Mike Foltynewicz?

Bill Shanks

Going into Monday’s game, we all wondered if the Braves would get “Good Folty” or “Bad Folty.”

That’s what starts for Mike Foltynewicz have come to - not knowing exactly what to expect from game-to-game. And to start the home-and-home series with the Tampa Bay Rays, Foltynewicz was definitely “Bad Folty.”

Foltynewicz had no velocity. According to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, Foltynewicz’s fastball averaged 89.3 mph and peaked at 92.3 mph in his 3.1 innings of work.

His stuff was ordinary. And when Foltynewicz’s stuff is ordinary, he’s just a run-of-the-mill pitcher. That gives the Braves a big problem.

We all knew going into the season the Braves could be defined by the rotation. In the first two games, the top two starters of Mike Soroka and Max Fried combined to allow just two earned runs on six hits in 11.0 innings, with two walks and eight strikeouts.

But the combination of Sean Newcomb and Foltynewicz was much different, as both pitched only 3.1 innings. They combined for seven runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings, with six walks and four strikeouts.

Foltynewicz’s issue Monday was home runs, as he allowed three to the Rays. Mike Zunino hit a solo shot in the third inning. Then in the fourth, Hunter Renfroe hit a three-run shot followed by a solo homer from Joey Wendle.

So, what do the Braves do? Well, they can’t release Foltynewicz. They could give him another chance in the rotation, saying you can’t judge Foltynewicz on one start. Although we all know that when you consider how ordinary he looked last week against the Marlins, there is not a lot of reason to believe Foltynewicz is going to snap out of this.

With this being a 60-game schedule, can they afford to leave Foltynewicz in the rotation? How long is that leash?

They could let him be the back end of a piggyback situation and perhaps start Josh Tomlin or Jhoulys Chacin. Touki Toussaint may have been in that conversation, but he allowed six runs in relief of Foltynewicz on Monday night. It’s time for Toussaint to poop or get off the pot.

The Braves could look to the “other 30” in Gwinnett and consider Bryse Wilson or top prospects Ian Anderson, Tucker Davidson, or Kyle Muller.

Foltynewicz says he’s okay, but his lackluster results are going to force the Braves to consider their options, or more appropriately, different options for that spot in the rotation.

Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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