BREWERS (27-21) AT BRAVES (25-21)
1:20 p.m. ET; FSSO, FSWI, MLB.TV
If Atlanta’s struggling Mike Foltynewicz hopes to get his season on track, he’ll have to do it against one of the top pitchers in the National League on Sunday.
Foltynewicz (0-3, 8.02 ERA) will oppose Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff (6-1, 3.72) in the finale of the three-game series at Atlanta’s SunTrust Park.
The Braves have won the first two games of the series, including a 4-3 victory on Saturday courtesy of Freddie Freeman’s 10th inning walk-off homer. Atlanta has won four straight.
Foltynewicz was an All-Star last year and expected to be the team’s No. 1 starter. After being sidelined by a bone spur in spring training, the right-hander has not been able to find his footing. Foltynewicz has struggled in his first four starts and last week he allowed three home runs and eight runs in 4 2/3 innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“It’s tough when you had success like that last year and then you come out of the gates and your first four aren’t pretty,” Foltynewicz told reporters. “It’s something you’ve got to change quick.”
Foltynewicz lost his only start to the Brewers in 2018, getting battered for five runs in six innings despite seven strikeouts. That poor effort was not typical for Foltynewicz. In six career appearances against Milwaukee, five of them starts, he is 2-2 with a 2.90 ERA.
Woodruff has had no such problems for the Brewers, particularly in his four most recent starts. Since April 27, Woodruff is 4-0 and has not allowed more than one run in any game. His ERA over that stretch is 1.23.
In his last start, Woodruff worked six scoreless innings and limited the Philadelphia Phillies to one hit and worked around five walks. The Brewers gave Woodruff some early run support and he never eased up.
“The lead always makes it easier to just get yourself into attack mode,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s really what he did. He dropped in some first-pitch strikes with some breaking balls, got free strikes, then attacked. Getting a lead for him does that or you. You can pitch like that.”
Woodruff will be making his first career appearance against Atlanta.
“He’s just now continued pitching well, taking another step and is really on the attack with hitters,” Counsell said. “The fastball is really overpowering at times, it feels like. He’s using it well, he’s throwing his off-speed for strikes. It’s a good recipe for success.”
Woodruff will try to slow down Atlanta rookie Austin Riley. In four games since getting called up from Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday, Riley is batting .533 with two home runs. He is the sixth player in franchise history to have eight hits in his first four games.
Freeman, who has homered in three straight games, needs one home run to reach 200 and three doubles to reach 300. If he reaches those milestones, he will become the sixth Braves player to do so, joining Hank Aaron, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews and Dale Murphy.
The Braves made a roster move on Saturday. They recalled left-hander Jerry Blevins from Triple-A Gwinnett and released veteran southpaw Jonny Venters.
The Brewers had to make a move in order to activate Chase Anderson in time to start Saturday’s game and sent Jacob Barnes to Triple-A San Antonio.
–Field Level Media