Zylbert: Can Mike Foltynewicz Bounce Back From a Disappointing Game 1?

Zylbert: Can Mike Foltynewicz Bounce Back From a Disappointing Game 1? article feature image

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz

Betting odds: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (NLDS Game 4)

First Pitch: 4:30 p.m. ET (FS1)
Probable Pitchers: Rich Hill (11-5, 3.66 ERA) vs. Mike Foltynewicz (13-10, 2.85 ERA)
Over/Under: 8

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record
Regular Season: 102-73-4, +21.35 units
Postseason: 3-3, -0.6 units
Yesterday’s Result: Dodgers-Braves 8, Buehler vs. Newcomb (loss)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Foltynewicz made his postseason debut in Game 1 of this National League Division Series between the Braves and Dodgers.

He didn’t find success in that start, tossing only two innings while getting struck for four runs, including two homers. Will he bounce back with the season on the line in Game 4?

I think he will.

For those who actually watched Foltynewicz pitch in the series opener, you know he was better than his final stat line.

The majority of damage against him came with nobody on and two outs in the bottom of the second. He hit one batter on a 1-2 pitch, before issuing a full-count walk.

Then unfortunately for Foltynewicz, Max Muncy took him deep for a three-run blast. Apparently (and wrongfully) the hard-throwing right-hander had a short leash and was taken out before the third inning.

But with five of his six outs impressively going for strikeouts, and his stuff looking sharp as well, Foltynewicz can still build off that outing and tame the tough Dodgers lineup. He’ll certainly be motivated to atone for his overall disappointing performance in the franchise’s first playoff game in five years.

One of the potential keys that could pave the way for Foltynewicz this time around is that, unlike his first start, today’s assignment comes in an afternoon setting.

If you analyze Folty’s splits, he’s a much better daytime pitcher. In fact, when pitching under blue skies, Foltynewicz has posted a 3.03 ERA and 1.16 WHIP — that easily bests the 4.58 ERA and 1.39 WHIP he’s registered at night.

In addition, during each of his four years as a starter in the majors, Foltynewicz has finished with a considerably better ERA during the day, illustrating that this is a consistent trend that can be relied upon.

On the other end of the spectrum is Hill, who actually has a pretty solid track record in the postseason.

Even though the 38-year-old left-hander didn’t begin to get acclimated to playoff baseball until two years ago (save for one start with the Cubs in 2007), the 2002 fourth-round draft pick has blossomed in such games.

Hill has given up two or fewer runs in each of his last six postseason starts, collecting 36 Ks over that span (26.1 innings).

The biggest challenge for Hill in recent years has been staying healthy, which is why he hasn’t been allowed to go deep into his playoff assignments the last two seasons. However, Hill appears to be healthy at the moment, having not missed any time since June.

At full health, Hill has been at his finest. Thus, it’s not too surprising to know that Hill was 9-1 in 13 starts since the All-Star break to go with a 3.03 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and .187 batting average against.

The strikeouts have been there as well. In his final eight starts of the 2018 campaign, Hill fanned seven or eight batters each time out. Seemingly at full strength now, Hill can continue his excellent work.

We’ll certainly be satisfied if he can come close to duplicating his lone outing this season versus Atlanta in July in which he notched seven shutout innings and struck out eight.

Hill can also capitalize on the Braves’ struggles opposite southpaws thus far in this series. In 62 at-bats, they’ve managed just a .145/.159/.210 slash line while plating only a single run with a Dodger left-hander on the hill.

With how the current juice is set up for this over/under, you can wait around to see if it rises from 8 to 8.5. I’ll be on the under regardless.

Play: UNDER 8/8.5